" ITREALMS: Expert advises on online chatting

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Expert advises on online chatting

Remmy Nweke in Malta

United Kingdom-based professor of Linguistics, Language and Diplomacy, Dr. Mrs. Biljana Scott, has advised online discussants on how to manage their time well.

Speaking at the on-going workshop on Information and Communications Technology in Contemporary Diplomacy in Malta, she said that online discussants must ensure that their contributions are concise and recipient identifiable, especially when it involves multi-stakeholders’ online chatting.

Multi-stakeholder online chat, entails more than two persons and could be upto 10 or even more in an electronic chat room deliberating on a given subject but at different speed.

“You must make your contributions very simple and directed at a
particular person’s comment,” she advised.

Dr. Scott pointed out that nowadays, members of these communities most of the times like to continue discussions, previously ended, especially when they missed out on an issue of important to them.

She noted that this kind of online engagement is being heavily deployed in academic and business related circles and in developed world of which developing countries are now gearing up, especially when participants are not coming from the same background.

Students, she said, “are guilty of always wanting to take the group back after missing out on a subject”.

Dr. Scott who also is the Project Manager for Language and Diplomacy for Diplo Foundation, therefore, advocated that when dealing or participating in a group online chat that the best practice is to ensure that comments or contributions are identified to specific recipient so as to avoid creating confusion on who should respond and who the comment is meant for.

This, she explained is because all the participants do not have equal computer typing skill, therefore everyone would not be able to respond simultaneously as expected and even before they could, another participant may have come up with another-related subject.

“Thereby creating gap between the first respondent and the second,” she said.

Opening the session earlier, the technical co-ordinator at DiploFoundation, Mr. Dejan Dincic, informed participants that there is a great deal of difference between chatting one-on-one and a group chatting in an online environment.

Hence, care must be taken to ensure that participants kept to the pace, just as he guided partakers on the use of Textus, which is a HyperText software specifically used by Diplo Foundation, mainly in dissemination of its educational contents.

Describing it as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for communication, finding and disseminating information, Mr. Dincic said that the solution was to help users share perspectives, interact with pages on the web and save the knowledge thus created for future references.

Stressing that every one benefits discussions when things are looked at from various and new perspectives, mostly when information is shared, thus interaction around pages on the Internet increases value, creativity and building networks of knowledge, he submitted.

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