Edan Maor from Chatty just kindly invited us into beta testing for Chatty.
Chatty is instant Facebook-like chat for any website. Site visitors can group-chat with each other in one large chat room, and it gives site visitors a dead-simple way of interacting with one another. Chatty’s design, features and entire essence is about encouraging site users to engage in conversation with one another. The web is chock-full of information but what we are really after as people is not information but other interesting people. Chatty takes users closer to that end.
We're testing it out on the site. You can log in using Facebook Connect and chat with other readers.
Via email, here was my initial concerns about Chatty -
My first few thoughts/concerns btw -
1. Do I have enough time to check up and use Chatty? In some ways, it becomes like another inbox that I have to spend time maintaining. Already got blog comments, Facebook, Twitter, email. So having another thing to maintain is a minor hassle.
2. How is installing/uninstalling? I use Wordpress which is good because it's very hands-off... I can edit a line into the footer of my site if necessary for testing, but you probably want to make a WP plugin quickly for ease/convenience.
3. Will it slow my site down significantly or break it somehow? That's a huge no-go if so.
4. What if the Chatty box gets overrun with spammers, idiots, or negativity? Moderation is a big hassle, which is why I don't run a forum at all. This is probably less an issue while Chatty is just getting started, but definitely a long term concern.
So far, point #2 was quite easy. Just drop the code in the footer. Site performance seems normal, though please do let me know if things go haywire. #1 and #4, then, are going to determine whether Chatty makes sense in the long term. Do we wind up getting a cool community going of people chatting? How much time does it take up? How many Viagra promos do we get? Etc, etc.
Overall, I'm bullish on the idea if Edan and team can get the implementation right. Their site is http://www.chattybar.com if you want to check it out, and please feel welcome to log in to Chatty here on the site, chat, and let me know how it goes.
I think that it would be a good improvement if the box didn't automatically pop up when you went to a page, but instead stayed as a small blue tab that you can click on to bring the interface up. As it is, I'm using NoScript to make it disappear because I find it a bit annoying when I'm reading.
It really feels intrusive and distracting. I have to weigh the aggravation of not being able to easily opt out and getting this damn blue box off the screen vs. enjoyment of the website .
I really dislike it. As the first commenter says, it's very distracting and takes away from the site. I'd remove it.
If your goal is to build a community, finding some sort of chat system that users can connect to on a more permanent basis would be useful. (IRC, Jabber)
Zack, thanks for the feedback for Chatty.
Chatty is still in beta and thanks to yours and others' feedback it is maturing gradually. You've wisely pointed out several much need improvements and we are working on it full-speed.
For starters, we are working on making Chatty only pop up once per site-visit to see whether you are interested in the conversation or not.
As for the color scheme clash, it is configurable and if Sebastian's readers will appreciate Chatty, I am sure we will get the color scheme aligned perfectly.
Finally, you should be able to voice your opinion and participate in the conversation without a Facebook account as well in the near future.
So once more, thank you for voicing your concerns. It really helps us making Chatty add and instead of detract from your surfing experience.
I don't like the current implementation much.
I closed out of the window right when I came to the site but every time I go to a new page it pops back up. It feels really spammy with the color scheme clashing with the style of the blog. No facebook account here, so it is not usable by me at all.
Overall, it detracts from this site. I could see this sort of thing being useful on maybe like one page of a website, where the entire page is dedicated to just chat. That makes more sense for a blog in my mind.
I'm really grateful to the readers here for feedback on Chatty, and to the Chatty team for inviting us to the beta test.
Lots of good feedback. The biggest complaint users here had was that the Chatty box would pop up every time you navigated to another page. The second biggest was the lack of login options - Facebook connect was the only way.
That said, I really admire how the team at Chatty has gotten it up and running and how they're already contacting people who run sites and blogs. It's imperfect - they're in beta testing after all - but that attitude of get something workable out the door and into people's hands is great. Big admiration there.
Despite some user interface and login hassles, I think people would have really enjoyed Chatty if we'd gotten some good conversations going. That didn't happen - partially this could be a "luck of the draw" thing, where if two site users at the same time had gotten into an interesting conversation, other people would have jumped in.
Of course, you know I don't believe in luck! I installed Chatty without really a comprehensive plan for it. I said, "ah, screw it, let's just try it out" - and then not much happened. With a cohesive plan on my end, I think conversations could have really gotten going.
Those of you who are connected to me on Facebook might have noticed that I haven't posted much on Facebook over the last couple of months. To be honest, I've been very intentional about this. My primary reason for avoiding FB has been to make time for other things (like my lovely little blog WPR), but there is another more subversive intention.
I am aware that every little thing I do on the internet can be tracked and monitered nowadays. The resulting data can be used to figure out the kinds of things I will most likely spend my money on. As far as FB goes, its seemingly innocuous interface doesn't fool me. Behind its glistening simplicity is a massive algorithmic machine aimed at keeping my attention for hours and hours on end. To top things off, everything that I "Like" is used to build some kind of digital imprint of who I am and what I favor.
Sure, it's great to reconnect with old friends and classmates and even enjoyable to know what people are up to, but what price are we all paying to be able to do this? One price, as I've already mentioned, is the loss of precious time that could be used more substantively. In my case, I practice play my cello or work on music. I take my Mom out to dinner or read a great book. I engage in a real conversation with someone. Imagine that.