Assignment: Comment on using online synchronous communication as opposed to face to face communication
For the exercise we did, trying to get someone to edit our Wiki user profile page, it definitely reminds me of the stories told about the first link on the Arpanet. They had two phone lines connected between USC and I think it was Berkeley and they would type one letter in and then ask if they were seeing it on their end. Then the IMP crashed and the rebooted it, started over and eventually typed out a Hello,…
Brevity also seems to be the order of the day. Longer form kinds of things are way better suited to Wikis or Blog entries. If you can’t ask a question in a Twitter sized 140 characters or less, you might as well do an actual phone call or Skype or just email it. I guess I prefer the longer format generally when it comes to text. And as Mike Gage pointed out when you choose to do a private channel it’s essentially an IM client instead of IRC.
On the upside however is when you are there, the immediacy cannot be matched especially if you want to through the IRC client into the background. Just knowing the people are logged in is kinda like having them in the room but at different desks or even just down the hall way. That’s a way greater assurance than waiting for a Discussion Board, Newsgroup or email return message. Or a Tweet for that matter, as the latency and delay of responses is still much slower than IRC. So you gotta pick the right tool for the right job. I’ll have to really try to figure out where it fits in when I’m working on stuff.