backlash against asynchronism

The NY Times is running a story about a soon-to-be released app that embeds real-time, 3D chat spaces into existing web pages, like your blog, or your Facebook profile.  The premise of the article is that the pendulum has swung too far toward asynchronous communication on the web (think blog comments or the Facebook Wall), and that users yearn for a live chat experience.  Personally, I’m not sure – almost the entire point of Facebook in my world, for example, is that it allows me to spend very little time and energy to maintain my weak ties.  If I wanted a live chat, I’d pick up the phone (which I rarely do).  Which begs the question, what demographic is the live chat aimed at?   Pew Internet has some interesting, fairly recent data that might shed a little light:  91% of teenagers use social network sites to stay in touch with friends they see often, so perhaps it’ll be useful for that.  On the other hand, other recent Pew data suggest that the (gasp!) the landline and the cell phone are the top two choices for teens who communicate with friends daily.  Curious to see where live chat embedded in web pages will fit in.

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