I have been experimenting with the Meebo chat widget in this blog’s sidebar. The widget, which is illustrated below, provides a realtime chat facility within the blog.

Meebo Chat Widget

I’ve not yet established a systematic process for making use of this chat facility – or, indeed, had an opportunity to explore its strengths and weaknesses. When I first tried it, in conjunction with the Meebo Web site and the Meebo FireFox plugin, I either missed people who were chatting (as I was looking at the wrong window) or failed to switch off the chat service when I left my office (and note that the image shown above is a simulation of a chat, and not a proper dialogue).

As well as those issues of process, I also need to explore whether this can be a useful services, or will simply be distracting. As part of that process I will carry out a simple experiment. I’ll try to log on to the Meebo service after I post a blog article, if I feel I am in a position to respond to any queries or discussions. And I’ll try to ensure that I log off from the service if I am busy, wish to concentrate or other work or am unavailable.

Perhaps a chat service like this isn’t ideal for a individual’s blog like this (as the individual is likely to be unavailable for significant periods)- but possibly could be more useful as mechanism for engaging in discussions when used in a multi-user blog with several contributors.