Group Chat had been quite a trend some years back. There had been (and are) great Instant Messaging Clients like ICQ, AIM and Yahoo Messenger, where Internet Addicts would spend their precious time scurrying through Chat Rooms. They were crowded, they were popular, and of course quite addictive to some. But present world needs more.
This is a Social World. Earlier we had more anonymity. Today we’re are connected closely to each other via Social Contacts. We seek more and more contacts, growing our own network, aiming not just for greater Business or Professional reach, but for being a part of a greater Community. Earlier, few would enter Chat Rooms for Business, Community Meet or Conferences.
But today we have Twitter, simplest way to share thoughts, links, promote business and follow any trending topic. Tweeples with similar interest usually follow similar trends. Thus getting updated and joining in live discussion over a spreading trend is something very involving. Sharing a Hashtag made tweeples cast their own words under a community alive over a similar issue. We can easily view the Tweeple-Version of World News by looking upon Hash based tweets, and get an idea about what world thinks about the happenings.
Now a feature that Twitter didn’t focus on was letting the tweeples sharing same Hash Tags, discuss over that particular Trend. It is possible partially using custom replies and using some Third Party applications. But none of them are as popular and intuitive enough to adapt.
Entrepreneur Ethan Gahng came with this innovative idea of bringing Group Chat to Twitter using his Startup Joint. He focused on using Twitter components completely rather than bringing in more Third Party Functionality. Of course, this is a third party since it has no official links with Twittter. But Ethan promises to keep the UI as simple as possible just like Twitter.
What exactly Joint does is that it tracks all the Hashtags and make Channels out of it (just like any IM Client’s Chat Rooms). Now users can join in the Chat Room, invite more, and discuss freely with other tweeples about their followed trends. There is a track of every activity in the Channel, unlike old Clients where anonymity was possible. Every tweeple getting in and out the Chat Room is notified. One striking feature of this Group Chat is Off-the-Record Chat messages. This means that chat messages won’t be tweeted alongside. This comes very logical since what we may discuss and chat in a group may not be necessarily shared with others. And ofcourse there is a provision of manually tweeting under the hashtags.
The Interface is very simple and completely focused on group chat, providing similar structure covering larger area for Chat messages, and Tweets and Channel Directories at opposite sides. Joining a Channel is as simple as clicking a button. You can follow a list of Channels according to your wish and chat anytime. Since focus is on group chat, messages having more ‘@’ replies are forced to converse through DM.
And since there are many tweeples who haven’t yet moved into following trends (more likely they don’t feel like doing so), one can create their own Channels for starting a discussion of their own. This would help in bringing more users from twitterverse.
Overall, Joint can be an additional Social Offering to the Tweeples, actually bringing the feeling of being a part of a more lively and better interacting community. A lot can be speculated from it since there are several possibilities of making up more and more from this service, like Live Interactive Discussion on some major Issues, Feedback Sessions, and also for providing more info and help during calamities. Users can be more involved in the discussion under a community, and the platform is worldwide. Not to mention the probability of some unwanted stuffs creeping within like earlier incidents.
All depends on Ethan and Team to make their venture stable and robust enough to stay for long. Lets hope they attach themselves to Twitter just like any internal organ.