During our New Media call today, we conducted an experiment in Tinychat, a new (I think) Web-based chat service. If you weren’t there, you missed out. (Just kidding).
What is TinyChat? It’s a quick, easy and seemingly an efficient way to quickly join a group of people together for a chat session. It takes less than 5 seconds to generate a tiny URL once you go to the site and that link can then be shared via email (or Twitter or Facebook – choose your own adventure) to your intended chat mates. Efficient, right? Easy, right? Yep. We had a nice chat during the new media call about food, which left me hungry for lunch.
This is perfect for a work scenario, especially for a company such as ours where we are spread across the country/the globe.
I found this tool on Twitter this week, as I saw @laughingsquid had posted a TinyChat URL inviting people to “break TinyChat”, aiming for 100 chatters – I joined then left after the ticker teetered around 80 participants for 5 minutes. Too much chaos with that many folks in the room, but was a useful experiment in its own right.
For all its usefulness, though, I do have a few concerns:
- Apparently, you can’t “kill” the link when you are done. If I click the link after leaving the chat, I enter the same chat room and others could still be there, too. This gets weird if you post the URL on your Twitter feed where anyone can join. Talk about lurkers…
- Speaking of Twitter – please note if you choose to log in with your Twitter ID (optional), TinyChat posts a tweet that tells your followers “come chat with me” and links to the room. This would allow anyone following you on Twitter to join your chat. Not good if talking work and a reporter or your client pop in for a chat.
- Privacy is non-existent. While the site claims “these chat rooms are disposable” and after you close the window you can no longer view the previous chat (unless you save the log), I’m not sure there’s a way to make a totally private chat (though you can privately message one other person in the room by clicking their name then typing your message).
So – I think this is a useful service, but as with any online communications, please be wary of who you invite, how you invite them and what you say.