Social chat for your blog with Wibiya: friend or foe?

I currently use the Wibiya toolbar on Caged Ether to handle all my social bookmarking and to add other cool features such as the ability to instantly talk about my posts here through networks like Twitter.

I noticed that they have recently added a social chat feature:

I found this intriguing, although not necessarily life-changing.

Advantages:

  • I can engage directly with readers and converse/share in a much more intimate form than the standard blog publishing/commenting system generally allows
  • Visitors can choose whatever network they prefer to login (currently the usual suspects  of Facebook/Twitter + a few others) yet regardless of network they can converse across the chat window
  • Chats can be public or private depending on the topic

Disadvantages:

  • You should be present to monitor the conversations – a potential time drag esp, exacerbated if you happen to be on a different time zone
  • Dealing with trolls and other undersirables who wonder into the chat room could be tricky if you can’t always man the chat room
  • Will anyone really want to stick around and chat, rather than just graze on your content and run?
  • It’s unclear whether the chats can be saved for perusal/analysis at a later time

This makes me think it’s too early to run out and proclaim this a killer app that will transform the world of online publishing. I can see where there could be real applications of this. Large news  sites could use this kind of service to interact more directly with their readership and could take opinions as quotes or at least as a measure of public sentiment). If you are running a big event with an active blog, this could serve as a community around which discussions can congeal.

Therein perhaps lies one of the problems with the Wibiya service. This toolbar tends to be used by smaller blogs (like this one) who may not have the manpower or application for such a service. But maybe Wibiya now has its sights targeted elsewhere.

Any thoughts? I’m afraid you’ll have to comment below: I’m not quite ready to pounce in with the Social Chat feature quite yet 😉

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