Thursday, October 21, 2010
Our goal in blogging is to interact with as many cool people as possible. We do that by exchanging comments on each others blogs, via e-mail one-on-one and by live chats. We added a live chat widget to our blog recently for the purpose of having a spot for coordinated meet-ups here with cool bloggers looking to chat together.
I researched a little out and about online and decided that Chatroll was the program for us. It allows for varying levels of use. You can use it for free forever if you like, provided you want to keep your conversations to a close-knit group of less than 10 at a time. If you anticipate larger crowds you can buy in at price points that fit your capacity needs, with a 2 week free trial option to test it out before committing to payment. If you do elect a plan at cost, you can pay month to month without any joining fees or cancellation penalties.
To insert the chat roll into our blog, I went to their site, created a log-in, and basically copied the code right into our HTML. Bingo. There it was - ready for conversation. The customization page allows for basic controls of your would-be users and the ease of use or level of privacy. I enjoyed the simplicity of the installation and customization. There were a few items I had a hard time remembering where to go to modify things, but their Help section solved those issues.
I put Chatroll to the test last month for our debut Bumble Town Chat and none of the participants had any issues joining in and communicating. People can chime in without signing in - though it is easier to identify participants if they go back and overwrite the default ID with one of their choosing. Logging in can be done via social media ID's such as Facebook though some may elect to keep that identity separate for the purposes of blogosphere chats.
One blogger had never done a live online chat before and figured it out without incident and enjoyed herself without trepidation. So Chatroll was as easy from a user standpoint as it was for me as a moderator and installer. Easy to install, easy to customize, easy to use. Big thumbs up.
We've got our second Bumble Town Chat tonight at 8:30PM ET - a bookish one to discuss The Handmaid's Tale. If you've read it, stop on by. If you haven't read it, stop on by. The book raises a gazillion fascinating commentaries on society and drama in the world today. And the rule of Bumble Town Chats is that the participants in the current one set the theme for the next one. If you can't join us but would like to some other time, leave your suggestion of a topic for a future Chat and tonight's participants may just take it under advisement ;0)