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Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Chat is Back

The role of cafeterias in the world history has been well documented. Political gatherings in cafes and debates on new ideas have led to changes in social order and revolutions. But an interesting point here is that while talking about the role of a cafe, we are actually talking about the role of a chat.

Recently I became a member of a spontaneous Skype chat that was started in order to congratulate some friends on the birth of their first child. Suddenly the chat became so funny that no one wanted to leave it. In the coming days we found ourselves actively talking about many serious political issues, about economy but also making jokes.

The chat denied any rules of gravity or netiquette. Often it generated 300+ messages in 2-3 hours. It flew freely, in whatever direction the wind was blowing. Sometimes there was no point, sometimes there was a very serious agenda. Sometimes the chat became so ridiculously funny that people said that they can not keep it open, unless they were safely at home and they could laugh freely.

One day a friend of mine told me "you look really happy, what's up?". Indeed, I was having a good time thinking back at some thing at the chat that I had said myself and it made me smile like a moron. But the point is that at one moment I discovered that there is some strange link to the chat and the fact that I felt really cool around IRL.

Well, you may say that this is like with any chat room, the phenomena that I personally have parcipated since 1991. But this may not be true. The thing is that in chat small details matter (just as in cafes). And these small details have changed and so has the role of the chat.

First, more different people have entered the chat arena, second, new user interfaces have entered the market, like Skype. (which can look similar to MSN, but is not in some small important aspects). Our lives have become more digital in every aspects and we finally learn to cope with it as biological beings.

So, try mixing very different people into a chat and forget the rules. The chat that can change you can change the world.