Gmail Chat Links With AIM – How Online Connectivity is Changing Reality

by Cheryl Tieken

Around the office, we are all on chat – all the time. We need to be so we can communicate with each other quickly and easily. Yes, I know what you’re thinking… Geez, those lazy people over at JT, why can’t they just get up and walk over to someone if they want to talk? Trust me, having that quick way to communicate and share files is essential.

Well, when I first started here at JT, I was practically shunned for not having AIM or Adium set up. My rinky-dink Gmail Chat just wasn’t suffice to the rest of the team because all of them were using the other two. So, I bit the bullet and created an AIM account.

Turns out, if I had just waited a few months, I wouldn’t have had to. Gmail chat and AIM are now linkable. Ok, ok, not big news to the rest of the world, but this seemingly tiny event has made me think more about the changing world of online interaction.

I mean seriously, it’s amazing how connected people are nowadays. Take Facebook. When I joined, I was in the first wave of the new social media platform. It came to the University of Washington shortly after it’s creation – back during a time when it was exclusive to four-year university students. At the time, the whole thing just seemed so weird to me. If I wanted to talk to someone, I’d just call them. Why the heck did I need to “write on someone’s wall?” But here we are, six years later and the whole entire world is on Facebook. Revolutions are happening over it, babies are being named after it, nearly every country has access to it.

I recently met some people from England and Facebook has made it so easy to stay connected, even though we live thousands of miles apart. Think about it. You can chat, post on someone’s wall, look through all of someone’s photos – literally acting as if you were actually there in front of the person. Social media has made the possibility of being multiple places at once, virtually possible. When you throw in mobile and its ability to constantly be online, it’s almost exhausting how connected we are – all the time.

So what do you think of all this connectivity? Is it empowering? Do you enjoy the ability to constantly be connected to people? Or do you find yourself turned off? Seriously people, tell us what you think!