Will chats on blogs ever reach critical mass?

February 17th, 2006

I’m going to go to DemoCamp on Monday to demo BlogChat and get a feel from the dev community whether there is any traction in “chat meets blogs”.

Tim and I have been running BlogChat as a free service for four years now and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it has had some consistent followers and users even though it hasn’t been promoted or marketed to any extent.

With some recent buzz about chats and blogs caused by 3Bubbles and Campfire, the tipping point may be on the horizon whereby enough people get to know about it that the minority of people who care to use it beyond the first day becomes a large enough pool to sustain a business model. It certainly hasn’t been that way so far.

What do you think? Will blog-based chat become de rigeur or will it forever remain a niche service? The jury’s out for me, I don’t know either way, I’d like your comments.

4 comments to “Will chats on blogs ever reach critical mass?”

  1. The problem with BlogChat is I very rarely saw anyone onine when you used to have the status area on here. I’ve noticed the same thing on Newsvine. Perhaps this will work on the high profile blogs, and that’s cool.

    Campfire is in a totally different league, and is extremely useful for what it does.

  2. I think you guys were just way out ahead of the curve when you first launched. Curious to see a bunch of blog-chatty type widgets popping up now.

    Personally, I really liked the status flag in Blogchat. Was one of the most useful things, IMHO.

    I just popped over to 3Bubbles, for example. Supposed to be 6 people in one of the active chats there. Hung around and posted a few “anyone home”-type comments for a few minutes. Nada. Zip. Nothing.

    Maybe I have halitosis of the keyboard or something.

  3. Rick – I agree, Campfire has a completely different target; it’s arrival as a web chat app of sorts just added to the buzz this week that has me thinking along these lines.

    Michael – Blogchat has an audible traffic indicator on the host side that makes it easier to notice someone has entered your chat when you’re off doing your expense report in another window.

    Blogchats are also only available when the host is online, which tends to mean that there is an interested party looking to engage the audience. 3Bubbles runs without an attendant required. My understanding from the 3Bubbles folks a couple of days ago was that there isn’t a separate app for the person hosting the chat, although I don’t know whether any of the admin tools that they must use at 3Bubbles are available to registered participants (notably the ability to kick someone out, which BlogChat has in its host app but which on that day at least, 3Bubbles required that you notify their staff to add an ipaddr exclusion on your behalf – I expect these tools are evolving for them though I’m a little baffled at the timing of a release that’s been in the works for 4 to 6 months that hadn’t considered including them).

    At any rate, none of these things completely invalidate the apps, they are either things to improve or things to accept about the nature of the beast. Again, there is only a small percent of the blogging population who seems to find BlogChat useful enough to continue with after an inital period. For them it continues to be useful.

    Maybe the concept will only ever be attractive to that particular demographic. Maybe some catalyst feature will be introduced by someone that will be the icing on the cake that attracts a wider base.

    I don’t think we’ve yet reached the tipping point, if there is to be one.

  4. Hi Brent,

    I speaking at the UK’s Naace Conference http://www.naaceblogs.org I would love to use BlogChat as a part of that. Fancy it?