I’ve been experimenting with various chat formats at Fixitnow.com for appliance repair help. If you’re a regular to the site, you’ve seen several different chat implementations come and go. Well, let’s add one more to that list.
The newest chat incarnation I’m trying out is using an iPhone/iPad app called textPlus. I made a text-based chat room called APPLIANTOLOGY using the app.
To use it, you have to download the textPlus app from the iTunes store (it’s free). You can download it here for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad: http://www.textPlus.com/download/
Then, within the app, look for the chat room APPLIANTOLOGY and post your most intimate and private appliance repair question for all the world to see. It gives a new but constructive meaning to the saying, “Hanging your dirty laundry out for all to see.”
New posts to the APPLIANTOLOGY chat room are pushed to my iPhone. If I’m available, I’ll answer right away. Sometimes, I’m not in signal or am simply not able to answer. But the beauty of it being a chat room is that *anyone* can answer and help out! Grasshoppers helping grasshoppers– it’s a beautiful thing!
Why am I going the mobile chat route? Good question, thanks for asking!
All of the previous chat implementations that I’ve tried were based on using your desktop computer. “Okay,” you’re saying, “so what’s wrong with that?”
Well, I’ll tell you. Some folks don’t understand chat and would try to use it as a forum. So they would post long, detailed questions, expecting step-by-step disassembly help, real-time on chat, happily oblivious to the fact that this monopolizes my time and ties me up so that I’m unable to help others.
So what’s the difference between chat and the forum?
The repair forums, www.applianceguru.com, are exactly the right place to get into detailed disassembly instructions or detailed troubleshooting of electrical circuits. Myself and other Master Appliantologists can post photos and diagrams that explain instantly what thousands of pecks on the keyboard cannot. And you can post photos and videos to help us better understand the problem. The entire conversation is permanently stored as a web page and is available to help other people who come along in the future with the same problem. It’s collaborative content creation. The Greeks call it synergia.
Chat, OTOH, is for quick questions and answers or for directing you to resources at the site that can help answer your question. I may well have a silver bullet answer to your appliance question and if I do, I’ll tell you. But if I don’t, I can direct you to other resources at the site that can help you. This could be a post I’ve written previously or I may direct you to the forums. There’s no harm in asking, just don’t cuss me out if you don’t like the answer (yes, I’ve had people do that).
So, back to the mobile thing. My thinking is that by going to a mobile-only chat format, it’ll help folks intuitively understand what I’ve just explained. In chat, the key word is brevity. The mobile venue encourages brevity; brevity encourages clarity of thought because you can’t waste words. As the ancient Romans might have said, “E brevitas, claritas.”
BTW, I encourage people to contact me through Twitter for the same reason; you get 140 characters to explain your problem and ask your question. That’s been working out really well. More on that here==> http://fixitnow.com/wp/2010/10/13/free-appliance-repair-help-via-twitter/
For more info on the textPlus app, go to http://www.textPlus.com
Samurai Appliance Repair Man
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