Recently I’ve found myself using the various chat functions on social media quite a bit. Google+ Hangouts is a key for keeping in touch with contractors and family alike. Facebook Messenger, which I originally thought was a waste of time, has become a great communication tool. Skype, though not exactly a social media platform, is indispensable for keeping up with clients and contractors alike. I also use Skype to help run my podcast network, PhillyTech.org.
With the use of these chatting platforms, I’ve noticed a couple sites that would benefit from such a feature:
- LinkedIn – Hands down, if LinkedIn had a chat function alongside its email functionality, it would be even more valuable. Allowing communication between contacts within your personal network could only benefit this social media platform and its millions of users.
- Facebook – Messenger on mobile devices is great, but you’re forced to use the main Facebook interface to message on a desktop. You can always download chat clients like Pidgin and Trillian, but they are missing valuable features that a Facebook created version would provide. Because Facebook also owns WhatsApp, integrating a desktop app using similar technology should be a simple task.
I left Twitter off this list because their Direct Messages feature is similar to chatting via text message and the company is currently making progress towards making this feature easier to use.
All in all, a chat function adds great value to social media. Not having this feature in your product can, and probably will, hurt it in the long run.
What do you think? Should LinkedIn and other non-chat enabled sites build out chat functionality? Post your thoughts in the comments.
Seth Goldstein is the Creative Director of Goldstein Media LLC, a Philadelphia area Internet marketing agency, which focuses on social media, Web design, email marketing, search engine optimization. He is also the founder of the PhillyTech.org Netcast Network, a podcast network focused on the Philadelphia area technology and startup scene. You can follow him online on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.