Chat has always been a staple Web 2.0 archetype since the first “chat rooms” surfaced over a decade ago. Chat room users became minor celebrities within their own walled chat gardens, but really couldn’t “breakout” into more massive recognition. Similarly, IM services like MSN, Gtalk and Yahoo!Chat are used most efficiently with a small inner social circle… a big chat network would be too distracting.
The Internet has evolved into a platform where bloggers like Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki and other content generators have become defined as online celebrities based on their readership or “follower” base. Blog and content essentially sit there on the Internet, waiting to be subscribed to or digested. Micro-blogging applications Twitter and Friendfeed not only serves as an open, as opposed to a walled garden chat platform, but it is also creating conversations around the topics once covered exclusively by blogs. And the conversations are easier to participate in when limited to one sentence thoughts as opposed to the extended comments that are protocol to blogs.
Twitter’s contribution to chat is in branding the chat ID handle. By being universally known as Scobleizer or just by your real name as your Twitter handle, you are forever branding yourself as a broadcast media channel. This will have online marketing value when mass media begins to recognize these channels as they extend into social media.