Thursday, June 12, 2008

How to Master the Chat Chaos?

Chatting with a friend is easy. When you have chats with three, four, or more people, the conversations quickly become lively, fun, and fast paced. Sometimes the words are whizzing by more quickly than you can type, and it feels more like a video game than a conversation. In a chat with three or more people, chatters talk past each other all the time.

Questions are asked, and before they are fully answered, more comments, inquiries, and observations pop up in the chat window. You wonder, Who is asking, what am I answering, how do we control this conversation? As with a new class of school kids, it’s hard to stop everyone from talking simultaneously. To help manage the chaos, consider designating a chat abbreviation (a word or emoticon) to indicate the end of each complete thought. As a nod to the past, we use the old CB radio ten codes (see the sidebar “The ‘ten’ codes”). If you are about to launch into a long story, don’t wait until the end to post what you’ve written in the message window. If you press Enter after each line, your chat buddies can read your story as you type it, and maybe they’ll be less inclined to interrupt. Just be warned that if you use too many breaks, you may confuse your chat buddies.

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