Chatting is one online activity which can eat your time and get you in trouble if mismanaged. I am trying to list down some practical tips from my experience regarding this.
1. Do not stay signed in always.
This is the golden rule of time saving in online chat. Your chat application is not a mobile phone to keep it on always for people to reach you. People can reach you by mail, phone if things are urgent. And if you want to check whether people are online you can always sign in for a moment and check things. But if you keep it signed in always, unknowingly you will be wasting too much time in unavoidable and unnecessary conversations.
2. Do not open chat applications during Windows start-up.
Can we say this as Silver rule? 🙂 When you set the chat application to sign in on starting up your computer, besides delaying your start-up time and slowing down your system, it can get people jumping at you to chat before you take care of other activities for which you started the computer.
3. Do not accept chat request from unknown people.
Yes, you need to network, promote your website / business and socialize but you need not accept anyone who sends you a chat request. Before you accept a chat request make sure you know something about the person and get genuinely interested in him. If you aren’t sure who he is ask him by mail. This will help you to keep your buddy list uncluttered and also help you maintain your privacy.
4. Use Google Talk Chatback badge.
It helps you to chat with people without having to accept them as friends.
5. Hide online friends.
I am less likely to pick a chat with my online friends without a purpose. So let me hide them showing their status automatically. If I have a purpose I can always check their online status and initiate a chat. But seeing their status by default can be distracting.
6. Do not visit chat rooms.
Full stop. It’s a plain waste of time and addictive.
7. Visit IRC support rooms only on a fixed hour and on a fixed day in week.
If you are a benevolent geek and would like to help folks by visiting IRC support rooms, fix an hour and day once a week when you would do so. Being logged in there for ever will kill your time. That you are being helpful wouldn’t get back your time.
8. Remind yourself that chat is not free.
People end up wasting lot of time in chat because they think it is free unlike a telephone call. Remind yourself that it is no free. If you are using dial-up connection, you can disconnect internet connection and save your money spent for the time chatting. Even if you chat from a free or unlimited broadband connection, remember your time is worth as well.
9. Think whether you will discuss the same if you had to call that person and spend money.
Else, it is equally worthless to discuss in a chat. Cut it. Consider chat as any other formal medium of communication and you would save time.
10. Focus in the chat.
Chat while you chat and don’t multitask. Would you feel OK if your friend left you in the living room and goes to clean his toilet, repair his car? The same etiquette applies for internet. If your response time is slow, people can easily find out that you are busy with something else and can get annoyed and leave the chat.
11. Do not open more than 3 chat windows.
Try to keep the number of chat windows as minimal as possible. For the same reason cited above. If needed put some in hold and try to finish the conversation with others.
12. Go for the simplest chat application.
I recommend Google Talk. When the application is simple, you would just focus on conveying the message instead of trying the playful additions in the chat application. Those are best left to teenagers, people new to online life and kids.
13. Use GTalk inside your Gmail.
14. Go for Voice calls.
Voice calls can cut much off the distractions in text chat. Unlike text chat, it is hard to prolong voice chat with not so familiar people. So automatically, nonsense and the time spent in it will be minimal.
15. Archive your chats.
They can be as informative as your mails and you would need it for future reference. When you share sensitive information like credit card number, hot rumours 😉 , scold someone 😉 remember to go off-record.
16. Stay invisible.
This gives you the power to decide when and whom you initiate the chat with.
17. You need not ping your friend always whenever you see them online and it is not rude to stay silent.
Some people might think it is nice and polite to say hello or start chatting whenever they see their friends online. But it is not necessary. Your friends’ telephone is switched on all the day. But you don’t ring them for that reason, right? Give your friends some space and time and good friends will always understand and stand by you.
It can be precise, purposeful and time saving. Many times we don’t know how to conclude the chat and keep talking something.
19. If you want to ask some question or reply to your friends, Go for chat only if you know the answer is simple and if you need to do so immediately.
20. Remember to disconnect the webcam.
If you forget to do so, once you finish chatting with your friends, your webcam can still be online and people can catch your embarrassing moments 😉