The CoffeeCooler – a virtual watercooler for OpenCoffee Clubbers

Skype Limited

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Damien Mulley pointed to an experiment in ‘ambient Skype‘ where Roo Reynolds used Video Skype with his remote partner as an "ambient backdrop to life, rather than just as tool for having a conversation". I found that fascinating and it reminded me of something Chris Messina previously wrote about "ambient socialization" or "digital overhearing" via Twitter, in terms of the co-working movement –

What I’m more interested in is 1) finding social energy while you work and 2) knowing that you’re not in the slog alone. These two ideas I think fit really well with the ethos and spirit of the coworking community.

I think ambient socialization can also be a valueable addition to the OpenCoffee Club scene. Each time after visiting Limerick OpenCoffeeClub I’m reminded of how much serendipity I miss out on by working from a home-based office. Not having colleagues in the same physical space reduces my opportunity for interesting conversation and so OpenCoffee is a monthly chance for me to bathe in an invigorating spring of informative discussion. If you catch my drift 😉

So I’ve revisted Skypecasts, a sadly under-appreciated voice chat room feature launched by Skype over 2 years ago. Skypecasts support a large number of participants but unfortuantely only 5 hours max per event. Therefore I’ve setup a new Twitter account @CoffeeCooler in order to post the new Skypecast address each day. So just follow that account if you’d like to drop in at any time.

A few notes about using the CoffeeCooler –

  • There is no etiquette! Informality is key. Come and go as you please… no need for hi and goodbye.
  • You’re welcome to ‘have it on in the background’, just like the radio. So there’s no need to introduce yourself or say hi if you’re just ‘tuning in’ for that purpose.
  • The corollary of the above is that those already chatting shouldn’t feel obliged to welcome those logging in, because they’re probably only ‘tuning in’ without necessarily wanting to engage in converation at the time.
  • Because I have to launch the Skypecast anew each day I’m automatically set as moderator. But I don’t intend to do any moderation and I obviously won’t be tuned in all the time. So please don’t think I’m ignoring you 🙂
Zemanta Pixie

6 Responses to “The CoffeeCooler – a virtual watercooler for OpenCoffee Clubbers”

  1. Walter Says:

    Terrific Idea. I enjoyed dropping in on the conversation for 1/2 an hour this morning.

  2. James Corbett Says:

    Cheers Walter, thanks for stopping by. And please keep an eye on @CoffeeCooler for the daily Skypecast link. See you there!

  3. Donncha O Caoimh Says:

    Bah, It requires Skype 3.2. The latest Linux version is 2.0, and the latest Mac OS X version is 2.7.

  4. James Corbett Says:

    Jeez, that’s very disappointing to hear Donncha, especially considering Skypecasting is about 2 years old now… just how long does it take them to update the non-Windoze versions? 😦

  5. Gordon Says:

    Would it be useful to have a widget on the site which follows the @CoffeeCooler twitter feed?
    It could show all the updates as normal but it could also watch out for the days skypecast address and automatically update a ‘Join CoffeeCooler’ link to on the site too?

  6. James Corbett Says:

    Ah, excellent idea Gordon, that would be great! Must ask Bernie about getting it added to too.

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