E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Giving Up on Instant Messaging

I have been out on the Internet since, more or less, beginning of 1997 (Yes, I know, quite some time already), and back then and for a number of different years I started to use different Instant Messaging tools in order to get in touch with my colleagues, friends and family. That is why in the end I ended up getting multiple userid accounts: AOL, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, etc. You name it, and I have an account for it, I am sure. But over the last few months now I have noticed a change in the different tools I use for some real-time collaboration.

Indeed, over the last few months I have noticed how I am switching away, little by little, from the traditional Instant Messaging tools into VoIP / IM Tools. I mean, I cannot remember any longer when it was the last time that I fired up ICQ or MSN. Instead, I am finding out that every single morning when I come to work I start loading tools like Skype, Damaka, and, lately, with some of my colleagues, Google Talk. And I seem to be quite content with that because by now I have convinced most of my contacts to make the switch. And it certainly has been worth while the effort.

I am not sure if you have noticed it or not but from the perspective of knowledge sharing, collaborating and engaging much more actively with a group of people VoIP tools seem to be much more powerful than traditional IM tools. Why?, you may be wondering. Well, I am not really too sure about it but I am finding out that I get to establish a conversation via voice with folks a lot easier than with IM. In some cases people do not seem, nor want, to be fast typists, so collaborating closely with someone feeling that way becomes a bit difficult and slow sometimes. However, engaging with them using voice tools certainly does help. A lot.

Plus the fact that for most of the VoIP tools out there we can find different options to record the conversations and revisit them back whenever we would need to, which will help a whole lot more whenever we would need to try to capture meeting minutes, action items, ideas, thoughts, etc. etc. And finally, more and more of those VoIP tools are also putting together video conferencing capabilities, which will make it even easier to relate to people and get to know them by allowing us to put a face behind the voice, a key item to help boost your trust levels with your peers and therefore get much more meaningful exchange of knowledge and information.

That is why I was quite content to see that Festoon now provides video conferencing support not only to Skype, but also with Google Talk, all under the same executable. I am just wondering when Damaka would be added to the list. I mean, with over 1 million downloads you would expect that such a fantastic VoIP tool would be beyond the mark of having reached a significant enough critical mass. So as these tools get better and better and make collaboration a whole lot easier I am finding out that I get to use traditional IM tools less and less. And best part of it is that most of my colleagues and friends feel the same way, so converting them hasn’t been too difficult. So how about you ? Have you moved away already from Instant Messaging tools or are you still too afraid to jump into the VoIP bandwagon? What do you think ? Will you ever make the switch?

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7 comments

  1. Thanks a lot, Alec, for the pingback and for dropping by over at my weblog elsua. Indeed, I can certainly relate to what you have mentioned above. In fact, I, too, have been trying Gizmo Project for a couple of months now and although at the beginning my experiences with it were very good things have become a bit strange since it takes quite some time to log me in, whenever it can, because in most cases if I try to connect five times four of those it would fail with an error message. (Quick Update: while I was trying to comment on your weblog post I launched Gizmo Project again, it auto-updated itself and it allowed me to log in straight through again !)

    I have been keeping up to date with the new releases but the problems seem to be persistent, so in the end I decided to move to other, more robust tools in my case, like the ones I mentioned over in my weblog. And so far I haven’t encountered a single problem. Maybe it is the time again to give another try to Gizmo Project. Hopefully, this time around it will work as it is supposed to. And as such it would be added to my current list of VoIP tools.

  2. Thanks a lot, Cesar, for the pingback ! I must say that after having read your weblog post and, specially, Rocky’s, I am not surprised about what happened. These days it is very difficult to find an IM client that may not have been hacked in the past and given the fact that ICQ has been in market for so long I am just not surprised at all. I, too, have got a very low number, I probably got it about 7 years ago, but it has probably been months since last time I tried to log in and it would not be too strange if I could no longer access it. Either way, and pretty much like Rocky I guess I have been looking for something else than just IM and the combination of VoIP and IM tools seem to be the good match now. At least, so far and since I got started using those VoIP / IM tools I have yet to encounter the first security exposure. I know they might come at some point but so far so good. Let’s see for how long. Again, thanks for the pingback !

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