Curiously enough, multichat has none of these virtues.
"People I need to reach aren't responsive to e-mail anymore; they seem to check it every few hours or so, probably dreading the onslaught of spam and tedious threads that await them.And this comment from a reader:
IM restores that rapid-fire pungency e-mail used to have, an electronic version of someone sticking their head in your office door.
I IM'd three of my IM peeps to find out why they like it.
Brian: Hey, I'm writing about IM in my next column. What's the essence of it?
Rafe Needleman (with his characteristically analytical take): presence is a key part of it. i know if you're there when i send a message to you. that's something you can't do either with e-mail or phone
Brian: OK, OK, I'll admit it, IM is cool But why?
Joni Blecher (with her usual larkish take): oh, easy--it's just like passing notes in class.
Brian: Brainstorming for my column: Why do you think IM is cool?
Stacy (my wife, as catty as a woman with five cats should be): you can be far more explicit than you can be on your work e-mail--i.e., bitching about your boss's awful new shoes w/o leaving a trace in the company's server logs. and one more a neat freak like you will appreciate: less crap to have to delete from your in- and out-box.
No latencyAnd yet....
Its like a discussion, only you can't be interrupted.