20 Practial Tips for Better Chat Management

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.

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.

18. Mail.

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 😉

Time saving and management tips for online chat

1. Do not be logged into any chat application by default all the time you are online. If you could follow this, then half the time you spend in online chats would be saved. Having status mode as busy / don’t disturb doesn’t really help. Our best friend’s first job is to buzz! us 🙂 . Login / Logout notifications from contacts could be distracting too. If you are really busy, if you don’t have a plan to chat with someone, if you don’t have your regular contacts online, LOGOUT NOW from the chat.

2. Do not start any chat application during the system startup. First, it slows down your startup time. Second, you could really be caught with lot of chat windows before you do the things for which you started the system actually. So turn off the option to open it during system startup.

3. Use Google talk or the chat within Gmail. Google talk is really a small app. It can be downloaded fast and installed easily and also starts up without delay. It has a clean and simple interface so you won’t be wasting time exploring / using / understanding the needless ‘coool’ features and cluttered menus.

4. Use one chat client at a time. Right now, I use Google talk for text and or voice chat. Yahoo messenger for video chat. Skype is bulky and slows down your system and I had bad experiences with its sound quality and connectivity. So I don’t use Skype. For calling phones in India, you can use JustVoip. It is cheap and has good sound quality. I don’t really understand the need to have more than one chat client kept opened at a time. I suggest having Google talk as the primary client and then to make choices among others when the need arises for video / audio chat / calls.

5. Do not use chat rooms. They are THE time-killers. Grow up. I can’t imagine a single useful thing that can be done in chat rooms.

6. Whenever possible go for voice chat. It reduces the time and effort needed to type. Speaking is faster and clearer. Calling needs a minimal agenda traditionally. So, you would think twice before calling whereas in text chat you wouldn’t think before starting to type that hi, how’s life which could have been avoided very well. Speaking needs some kind of rapport with the guy at the other end. If you don’t get into that rapport you are more probable to end the chat soon unlike in text chats where you keep saying bye c u for 10 times and before saying it the 11th time you remember something and the chat keeps dragging. Voice chat as a habit and priority will keep you away from chat during working hours in office because it is not easy to voice chat for ever without being watched by colleagues.

7. Do not use chat as a time pass. There are lot more ways to pass time in a healthy, funny and useful manner.

8. Do not use chat for replying to emails unless you have a situation to troubleshoot immediately or you expect a reply immediately. Emails can be short and to the point saving you lot of time.

9. Do not hesitate to decline chat invitations from unknown people and avoidable contacts or to block existing contacts who keep distracting / disturbing you. It is perfectly ok.

10. Stay in invisible mode if you want to focus chatting with a particular contact. Too many chat windows can be distracting and time consuming.

11. You don’t really need to start a chat when you see a contact appear online. We don’t call someone everyday just because he has a mobile phone. Applying the same logic, you need not chat all the time when you see a contact appear online. You need not fear that you will be mistaken as a cold / unfriendly character.

Remember that online chat is not the only way to stay connected with people close to you who would really matter in the real world / time. I always call / visit my best friends and family or get calls / visits from them and they rarely come for an online chat. If used wisely, online chats can be a good productivity / social networking tool saving you money and time.

Time management tips for social networking sites

  • Select only two sites for social networking. One for professional and another for personal network. I use Orkut and LinkedIn. Do not accept invitations for new networking sites from your friends.
  • Do not accept friend requests from people you haven’t met or with whom you don’t share a passion. This will help you save time, avoid unimaginable online and real world safety troubles. Also, your friends list will be less cluttered so you can stay in touch with them more ease and closeness.
  • Do not use social networking sites as a timepass, chat or mail applications. Use it to trace them where they are. Watching their latest photos and videos should be ok. It is easier than mailing them. But, rather than scraping send them occasional personal mails. Reply for a scrap via email and realize that you would save time from the incessant scraps that would have followed if otherwise. I value mails more than scraps. And I hate this “Happy xyz day” wishes sent to all friends in the list.
  • Do not have email notification of scraps. Email notifications can distract you and make you login to these sites quite often. If someone is really going to die if you don’t reply them immediately, they would not choose to scrap. Stay cool.
  • Stop reading scraps in other’s pages.
  • If you are reading messages from communities, then God save you. Stop it. Better, Unsubscribe. You can always find the information and people without these communities.
  • You are smart. The world knows. So, you don’t need to change that photo 3 times a day.
  • Do not try to use it as a matrimonial. Live in the real world. I always hear that girl friends can be met in bars!!