Chatboxes on Blogs: Yay or Nay?

woman at computer keyboardThis January I was surprised to discover  in a wordpress.com  forum thread that there were chatboxes that are iframes embeds operating on some wordpress.com blogs. I did some research to locate all the chatboxes I could find chatboxes that we chould use on WordPress.com blogs and published a post titled:  4 Chatboxes for wordpress.com blogs, which I will now update as Chatroll chatboxes can no longer be used on wordpress.com blogs.

Chatroll chatboxes stop operating

In April 2010 some bloggers who had been using Chatroll chatboxes began to post to the WordPress.com forum reporting the Chatrolls on their blog were no longer working.  Staff responded clarifying the use of this iframe embed was not intended, and the bug that allowed the chatboxes to be operational had been fixed. Some bloggers hoped to see a shortcode created but that did not come to pass.

As WordPress.com has no interest in supporting Chatroll as a widget in the short-term, there are now just 3 chatboxes available for WordPress.com bloggers’ use. Google Talk chatback badges,  Talkinator widgets and Meebo widgets can be used and by clicking the title on my earlier post in the first paragraph above you will locate more information and links.

Up close and personal

This blog is focused on becoming a better blogger, building a better blog, and basic blog promotion.  Everything about blogging  is open to discussion in this blog, but every day I receive tweets to posts on THE correct way to use social media like Twitter, and THE correct ways to interact on social networking sites. All are aimed at becoming more up close and personal.

Apparently, the decision of the court of general opinion is  bloggers wishing to attract more readers to their blogs must become more personal and chatty with their readers.  So, it’s confession time. I am an introvert, a reserved person, who does not discuss personal issues with anyone outside my small circle of close friends and family. I am not  skilled at small talk and learning how to develop small talking skills is not on my priority list.

I’m a Twitter purist for only tweeting and retweeting post titles and links to my own articles and to those of other bloggers.  I have found transmitting valuable content in 140 characters or less to be impossible, let alone, using tweets to create meaningful relationships. But all around me other bloggers are claiming they are skilled at the same.

Well, are they truth tellers or story tellers?  And if they use chatboxes and Twitter to get up close and personal with their readers,  then what effect does that have on the commenting patterns on their posts?

As I’m sure not all my readers share the personality type with me and think the same way as I do,  I would like to hear what you think about chatboxes on blogs. Are you for them, against them, uninterested or undecided?

Questions for discussion

1.   Do you use a chatbox on your blog(s)?

2.   If your answer is “yes” then please answer the following questions:

  • Which chatbox do you use and why did you choose it over the others?
  • Do you also use Twitter?
  • What do you discuss with your readers in the chatbox that you would otherwise be using comment boxes beneath your blog posts, or on Twitter, or by email?

3.   If your answer to question 1 is “no” then please answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever considered using a chatbox on your blog(s)?
  • If so then why did you choose not to use one?
  • If you have used a chatbox on your blogs previously but don’t use one now why did you remove it?

4.    Do you have something you want to say on the subject of chatboxes on blogs? Perhaps you have an opinion or an experience to share.  If so, I’d like to hear it  so please don’t hesitate to post a comment.

37 thoughts on “Chatboxes on Blogs: Yay or Nay?

  1. No, I’ve not used one (though I’ve participated in actual chat rooms when I first used the internet). This is almost certainly not something I’d use on a blog. I’m too slow-thinking to be able to participate in a chatbox environment, I like to be able to take my time and think out what I want to say to people and also have time to assimilate what I’ve read.

    • Hell there,
      I did have a chatbox when they first came out but I’m not a small talk type and there were annoying things about it so it was gone before the week was out. I’m an introvert too and it takes me time to assimilate and respond so the chatbox environment is not for me.

  2. Timethief, I’m in agreement with you and the other commenters: life is short. Not only do I not have a chatbox, I refuse to use chat/IM — I simply can’t type or think that quickly. That represents the antithesis of what I value as a writer: well-chosen words and coherent discussions. I’m also sympathetic with your desire to cut back on other social network activity to devote more time to blogging. I got into Identica/Twitter and Facebook for very specific reasons related to supporting my online publishing activities, and for the most part haven’t deviated from that, so they aren’t too much of a time sink. As for saying anything substantial in 140 characters, that challenge actually constitutes the major attraction of microblogging for me. Since November 2007, I’ve been writing a tweet every morning about the view from my front porch, and it continues to be a fun exercise for me as well as a subtle form of agit-prop for my biocentric outlook, since almost all are nature-related (I live in the country). I post my Morning Porch twee-dents to a WordPress blog (see link), but it gets a fraction of the readership on-blog that it gets on Identica, Twitter, and Facebook. Anyway, this is getting a little off-topic. My point I guess is that it’s possible to remain fairly antisocial and blogging-focused and still make good of social networking media to reach more diverse audiences (and, yes, to network once or twice a week).

    • @David
      Thanks for the advice. I’m not into online chat either. I simply don’t have the time for it and like you I like to think about things before I reply to them.

      This week I received many emails containing support questions and I have yet to reply to all of them. It was a busy week in our business and I had 3 medical appointments so I fell behind.

      “My point I guess is that it’s possible to remain fairly antisocial and blogging-focused and still make good of social networking media to reach more diverse audiences (and, yes, to network once or twice a week).”

      Good point. I will not be totally discontinuing social networking. Like you I will commit a couple of time spots each week to being on those sites, but I cannot be on them every day.

      Your Porch Morning tweets sound interesting so when I have the time to I will be reading them. :)

  3. Just another useful tip: I even research for my own past comments occasionally on Internet forums that I participate regularily because later I realize it was a meaningful event for me to cross-reference or dig deeper for to help me research details about that past event or situation.

    It happened today..about a mountain biker that I blogged about just now. I was trying to remember when did I see him bike jumping over 2 people lying down face up…it’s to help me spin the storyline even better.

    Blog posts are way better to help everyone, including oneself as the ‘commenter’.

  4. @Jean
    Very good point you make about leaving things for posterity.
    The comments on a blog at least have a degree of permanency.
    So many things in life these days seem to be becoming simply transient, and even though one can normally save one’s chat I doubt that many people do that on a regular basis.
    Is it any wonder that attention deficit disorders are becoming so prevalent among the young ?
    Ye Gods ! I’d better stop now before you have me suggesting that kids should go back to reading books ….

  5. Do I have to? How much more can one stretch on what I just said? Ok, ok maybe …

    Just let me finish a post that includes Sara Mclachlan (I heard her sing today), etc. And another brainstorm idea I had for different article on cycling. I’m excited to act on the 2nd one before a contribution to you.

    Couldn’t we all live 2 lives and double our time to do stuff??

  6. Perhaps useful to remember the comments on a blog article can often be permanent, value-added content. A person’s expertise can be captured permanently in a comments section. Easier for them also to provide resource links and opportunity for a responder to spend abit more time to think and craft a more cohert comment for posterity.

  7. Hi TiTi,
    1. No
    2. N/A
    3. No
    4. I have a life, therefore I don’t do online chat with anyone unless it by prior arrangement.

    There are more than enough ways for people to chat online as it is so I, for one, am glad that in this respect WordPress are staying true to the blogging philosophy that interaction on blogs is by way of posts and comments.

    I wouldn’t know how to Twitter, and have no desire to know. I detest Facebook and other, so called, social networking sites.

    My communication is done in my own time, at my own pace, and fits in with the lifestyle I lead.

    Ok, so I’m a troglodyte, but “Well done WordPress” anyway.

    Enjoy the cookies. ;)

    • @honorarynewfie
      I love the way you answered. … lol :D

      I do know how to Tweet and I left Facebook long before it became a huge shopping mall of time wasters whiling the hours away playing “fake farming”. No kidding! :)

      It seems that we have a reached consensus but who knows the next commenter could present an entirely different POV. If so I’m open to hearing it.

    • Although I have started blogging in the time of social networking services, I still prefer the old-fashioned way of doing it (i.e.: publishing posts and leaving comments on them). I also follow your preference of communicating online within one’s own pace and time. Most of us contemporaries actually spend more time tweeting and updating their statuses on Facebook, which I really find… weird. It’s like there’s no more time for real-life interaction.

      Cheers!

      • @RH
        Precisely.
        I’m sure that if more young people spent more time in real or thought social interaction, as opposed to Twittering and texting, then we would see a vast improvement in their quality of life and that, in turn, would have far reaching social benefits generally.
        I must say also it’s good to see that you want your own blog to inspire its readers in one way or another to take action for decent living. Good luck with that !

        • Hey honorarynewfie!

          Thanks very much for your affirmation on real vs online social interaction.

          Thanks also for the statement on my blog’s purpose. Yeah, I do hope my blogging will be of significance to readers.

          Cheers!

      • @Rogue|Hero
        To be clear the we are not in synch with those who insist the using Twitter and social networking sites is a must in order to become a successful blogger. Social networking is part of our lives and by that I mean the home grown variety that comes naturally with making friends, as opposed, to jumping onto the social networking bandwagon and pending hours on Facebook, Digg, etc.

        We can choose to focus on relationships building with our readers on our blog and on theirs and creating blog centered communities. Also our definition of whether or not our blog is a success or failure can and does vary from those who place money making at the top of their list. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/03/31/is-your-blog-a-failure-or-a-success/

        • Hey timethief!

          Yes, I share with your outlook on social networking (on- and offline), relationship building with readers, and successful blogging.

          Thanks very much for setting things clear.

          Cheers!

  8. For me, a chatbox would just be more work with less substance. I would prefer people drop by, visit and hopefully leave a relevant comment on a post if they are so inclined. The most fun I have is the back and forth exchanges in the comments. Often these develop into conversations that are stimulating and informative from the commentators as much as from us.

    • @askcherlock
      I’ve been asking my readers a lot of questions because I’m contemplating making some changes like backing away from social media and from social networks as well.

      Those who are new to the blogosphere don’t recall how things were previous to the advent of Twitter but you have, in essence, described the real blog centered communication and fun we had when we weren’t burdened the time suck AKA as “social networking” in your comment.

      Previously, I had the time to visit each and every blog of every blogger who commented and reciprocate by commenting on their posts too. Now I no longer have enough time to do that so I need prune whatever I need to prune so I can do that again.

  9. What a small world. No problem. Off for early bike ride before running off to a gig for a few hours ..there will be some international stars. I guess I should have tweeted this.

    • @Jean
      It’s more than 140 characters! If you had tweeted me you would still be waiting for a reply.
      P.S. I love your sense of humor. ;)

  10. Sounds like something useful for someone who is on their blog all the time, but I only log in to my blog if I am posting something or to catch up on a comment.

    So Chat would be the sound of one hand clapping in the forest.

    • @David
      You cracked me right up. :D

      I spend far more time answering blogging questions on forums than I do on this blog.

  11. Hey timethief!

    No, I don’t use a chatbox on my blog.

    I have once considered installing a chatbox on my blog’s sidebar after learning that it’s one way of encouraging feedback from readers. I used the Meebo widget available to WordPress.com users. However, I found the chatbox’s width too small for the sidebar width of my blog’s theme, so in the end, I decided to remove it.

    Eventually, after going through your posts tackling about connection/download speeds and how these can affect your blog’s traffic, I came to realize that having a chatbox is not really worth it at all. I have visited several blogs that have chatbox widgets and get annoyed at the slow download speeds that I get–all because their chatboxes take time to load.

    I just thought that having existent chatboxes diminishes the role of comment forms found on every blog post. If a reader has something to say, instead of leaving a comment on a particular blog post, they would go directly to the chatbox. More often than not, this is what I have observed on blogs that use chatboxes.

    What do you guys think?

    Cheers!

    • @Rogue|Hero
      Thanks do much for bringing forward the page loading time factor. Nothing is more annoying than watching a bunch of extraneous stuffbeing loaded in my lower browser bar while twiddling my thumbs. Page loading speed has become a ranking factor expected to effect about 1% of blogs. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2009/06/13/blogging-strategies-for-reducing-page-loading-time/

      Your concern about the use of the chatbox rather than leaving a comment is one that I share. I’m amazed to see the twaddle that’s posted into chatboxes and particularity in Twitter widgets being proudly displayed in sidebars as if it was as valuable as actual comments on posts. Maybe I’m just showing my age – proudly! ;)

      • Hey timethief!

        You should definitely be proud of your age. For me, comments published under every post is more valuable than deletable chat conversations. It’s still the proper way to blog. :D

        Cheers!

  12. No, I don’t use chatbox on my blogs. Nor do I wish to use someone else’s chatbox on their blogs. I would be interested just to hear of other users about chatbox. I have not used Twitter yet but may need to later for an organization. For personal reasons, Twitter serves no purpose. Heck, I’m lucky if my closest friends and family members respond by email in a few days! That’s ok, we all live busy lives with other daily interests and responsibilities.

    It isn’t because I’m introverted, etc. The reality is that now anything that you write /record digitally via the Internet, becomes a digital breadcrumb that is all associated with you. It is evidence about you. What may appear to be an innocuous comment, can be misunderstood or taken out of context. People are now dealing with only information fragments about you. It’s impossible for virtual, casual strangers to have an accurate, complete 360 degree understanding of yourself, your family background, your history of accomplishments and weaknesses that you may have struggled to overcome but have gained valuable personal experience.

    So I prefer comments in a blog or forum where there is a trail that is connected to the original topic. At least that’s abit of context.

    Employers and work /professional colleagues do check the Internet. It’s very easy now. In some professions: it’s part of their job, their work DNA. I’m a librarian by formal training and work experience. So my own colleagues can’t help but search me out if they were a tad curious!

    Also life is short and I really need to focus my time and words where it truly counts in terms of priority: face to face people and loved ones are a priority. Then everyone else follows thereafter.

    It appears that maybe some bloggers might want their blog to be a central portal for all their social media tools. My thinking is: multi-channelling across blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. should be planned thoughtfully with judicious personal time management and prudent amount of words without too much triplication, quadriplication of messages, etc.

    • @Jean
      Please forgive me but I must go to bed now. I do appreciate your comment and I will respond to it tomorrow morning. I promise.

      P.S. When it comes to digital breadcrumb trails and online information sharing we are singing from the same songbook and I too am a librarian.

    • @Jean
      Re: your last paragraph. Social media sites like Twitter and social networks like Facebook, stumbleupon, etc. are all full of the same data being circulated all over the internet. If one wants to be a part of that then what comes with the territory is spending hours everyday re:broadcasting and/or voting up one’s “friends” or “followers” posts. For the money motivated bloggers who are making income from their blogs that is their life. The rest of us, however, do not have to make that choice. More and more bloggers who don’t monetize their blogs and who have full lives are bailing out, but as there are legions entering those who are part of the exodus aren’t very noticeable.

  13. TiTi I recently installed the Google Talk chatbox on my blog, the reason I chose that particular one is because my primary email account is gmail. I thought it would be a way to connect to readers, as I stay logged into my email account while working on my blog, and surfing the blogosphere. As of yet I’ve had no one chat with me :(

    It’s just as well, because like you I’m an introverted person, and have trouble making small talk, and most times don’t want to make small talk if I’m doing research for a post. To be honest I’m new to social media, and blogging. I have been using Twitter for the WordCount Blogathon to tweet a link to my posts.

    I see the point you’re making in question two, bullet three, whatever you could chat about could just as easily be done through commentary, or email. In the meantime I will leave it to see if any of my readers will use it. Thank you for the insightful article.

    Wishing you the best
    joer223

  14. No, I will not have a chatbox. I barely have time to keep up with blogging (cooking, photography, writing), that I don’t see how I’d have time to devote to a chatbox as well.

    Like you, I control who receives personal information. Even posting “about me” wasn’t easy, and I barely have anything there.

    I just want to share cooking through my blog, not get chatty.

    • @CIM I never thought about the personal information issue, you raise a very good point that may cause me to reconsider my view on the chatbox. Thanks!

    • @cookinginmexico
      Thanks for being so forthcoming. I appreciate it. :)

      P.S. Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies sound like I’m going to love them :) I have added your blog to my tag surfer. See you soon. :)

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