iChat, Flickr (et al), and Skype
I just started reading Stuart Henshall, or rather, his blog. Lots of good stuff about Skype, he's talking about Flickr, and some thoughts about how voice could potentially interact with social software.
And he also pointed me towards Gush -- basically a combination RSS reader, IM client (using Jabber), and blogging client. Currently Windows-only, but a Mac OS X version is coming. Rich media arms race indeed!
On to my own experiences with iChat…
Last night I spent almost 2 hours on iChat, talking with first Kevin and then Andy. The great thing was, I was able to walk around our (small) apartment and keep chatting. The iMac microphone is good enough that it picked me up as I went to the fridge, the kitchen, etc. With the addition of a wireless Bluetooth headset, I could have talked in a normal voice.
The picture sharing felt very natural. I mean, I still know a lot of people that have difficulty sending pictures via email (all of them on the PC platform, I might add), but drag and dropping onto a chat window is something that anyone can do.
Both Kevin and Andy plan to get parents set up with the latest version of the AOL Instant Messenger client. Bye bye long distance calls, hello shared pictures and video! Andy and Irene Ann are expecting a baby, so this will let the grandparents stay in touch.
Anything that calls itself social software has to, by definition, work the way that people already work. This means easy voice, easy group forming, easy sharing of media that represents the way we see and hear the world around us.
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