My preference overall would be that more conversations are not online anymore but face to face (again). Compared to online chats in real discussions there are far less misunderstandings and faster and more human interaction. Overall: a better quality of communication.
So why is „again“ written in brackets? Well, many people, I would suggest especially digital immigrants, would tell you that today most people are typing on their smartphones and computers - and have less real face to face discussions. I believe that it is different. There are always times in live when you can not be with people you talk to. And in the past there were even more moments like this. Today‘s transport systems were not yet invented, most people had to work hard and were confronted with the same people every day. That is why I believe that today there are more conversations, enabled also by online networking.
Non face to face conversations are far better than no conversations - one important point for me is therefore that the tool should provide a good possibility to communicate. I like the development towards video conversations and coorporation platforms like google docs. I can imagine that in the near future there will be the possibility to share your desktop (the real one!) enriched by notes from the other members (Google glass?).
But now is now, so let us stay in the present age. Why am I not in a Google+ Hangout every time I want to speak to somebody who is not in the same room? Why am I using facebook? Well, the first point is that everybody is using facebook - and the reason why everybody uses it is already the second point: It‘s easy and it offers an overall package. By now it is to annoying for most people to be in a video conversation. They are not familiar with this new dimension of conversation and the technology is sometimes unstable.
In everyday life this is therefore not yet the best choice but we are planning to use Google+ Hangouts and are already using Skype in our group work. While not every group member is living in Den Haag this is a way to communicate as natural as possible.
Furthermore we use Basecamp to manage our project. The To-Do lists and milestones help us to keep up and it provides a space where we can collect our documents. Not everyone likes that we also work with another platform than facebook and I, of course, would like to increase the usage of platforms like Hangouts. Therefore it is important to communicate (I believe you notice how important communication is in general) the needs and problems with the group members. Another idea is to propose a different platform to the group by presenting it and it‘s advantages to the group. The Hangout test run I started with a fellow student (other students could join) is an example of how you can promote a platform.
Finally connecting all these platforms and keep up while working in a group on facebook is a great challenge for me. Every platform has it‘s advantages and disadvantages and everyday you spot new issues. Even hardly noticeable properties can show up in a serious problem. For example that posts in a facebook group are rearranged depending on new reactions can lead to confusion and stop of the work flow.
Technology is pushing us forward - but we should not forget to communicate face to face, offline, everytime when it is possible.