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We may live in the information age, but today, communicating with your coworkers often isn’t as simple as just walking over to their desk. Often we’re working with people across the globe, and the internet is the main way we can stay in touch. To work efficiently in this new age, we need better ways to stay in touch.

The good thing is, there’s more ways to communicate now than ever before. You don’t have to wonder if you can stay in touch, but you do need to find the best way to stay in touch. Last week, we asked you what communications tools you use. We’ve rounded up the best and most popular communication tools, including old standbys and new tools you may have never heard of. Keep reading to find new ways to stay in touch with your team, wherever they are.


Twitter’s IPO yesterday gave the company an eye-watering market cap of over $24 billion, all for a company that got us to share our thoughts in 140 character public messages. Twitter has private messages, sure, but the value to advertisers is in those public messages. But not all communications is meant for public, and LINE — the hugely popular Asian private messaging app — is reportedly eying a $10 billion IPO for its decidedly not-public messaging service.

It’s insanely easy to share your thoughts with the world these days thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but it seems like it’s increasingly hard to privately message everyone. You’ll have some friends you need to email, some to private message on Facebook, others to WhatsApp or Line message, not to mention old-fashioned email, SMS, Skype, and traditional IM. You might even need to thrown Snapchat and BBM into the mix, and perhaps a few more obscure messaging apps to cover everyone. It’s quite the mess.

There’s simple ways to cross-post to multiple social networks at once (hello, IFTTT, Buffer, and the awesome Draft for iOS among others). But when it comes to private messaging, everything’s separate, which is quite the pain unless all of your friends, family, and colleagues prefer the same app for communications.

So: if you could pick one way to private message, and had to get rid of the rest, which would you pick? I’d personally pick email, old though it is, since it’s far richer than the other messaging tools. But there’s something to say for short and simple newer services — so how about you?

No matter how many team communications apps you’ve got, odds are your team still ends up using Twitter as the watercolor and txt messages or email or Twitter DMs for private one-to-one messages. They’re just easier. We’re all already used to using them, so why not just use them to communicate with our colleagues at work too?

But what if you had a team chat app that actually was easier to use for everyone? Slack is the newest shot at reinventing team chat, and it’s nice enough that our writing team at AppStorm has fallen in love with it. It’s real-time chat, private messaging, and archiving with search across everything in an app that’s simple to integrated in your team’s workflow. Here’s what’s great about Slack, and why it’s the team chat app your team should give a try.


RealtimeBoard: an app with an unusually non-cryptic name. It’s an online board where you can collaborate with your colleagues in real-time. Not a new idea, by any means, but RealtimeBoard has a new take on it, making it actually nice to use. It provides you with is what amounts to an essentially infinitely large whiteboard which you can use to brainstorm ideas, share notes and documents, work on designs with colleagues, and much more.

Let’s take a look.


Microsoft just announced that they’ll be shutting down Windows Live Messenger – what used to be MSN Messenger – for good on March 15th. After buying out Skype in 2011, the software giant has gradually moved its chat userbase over to Skype’s network. Now, the chat network many of us relied on for over a decade is now going to disappear.

That said, odds are you haven’t used Live Messenger in quite some time, if you’re like most of the people I talk to. Facebook, Skype, and mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp have taken over chatting. You may be chatting more than ever, but odds are it’s not on the same network that you used a half-decade ago, and you’re likely not doing it from your computer.

Or are you? That’s what we’re curious about: what chat network do you use the most? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Our sponsor this week is HelpOnClick, a web app that makes it easy to add live chat to your website. It’ll help you support your customers better and make your website more accessible to everyone.

It’s insanely easy to setup, and you’ll only have to copy-and-paste code to your site. You’ll be up and running with live chat on your site in less than 5 minutes. You’ll then be able to monitor your site’s traffic in real-time, and then will be ready to help your site visitors as soon as they have questions.

HelpOnClick helps you be even more efficient at answering customers’ questions by letting you see the questions they’re typing before they’re finished, so you’ll be able to answer questions faster than ever. It’ll also help you improve your site, by showing you how visitors reached your site through its built-in traffic monitoring.

Go Get It!

If you’re needing a better way to support your customers right from your site, give HelpOnClick a try. It’s a great way to offer real-time support over chat, so you’ll be able to answer your customers’ questions as quickly as possible. It starts at $19/month, but for a limited time, you can get $50 off your subscription by signing up with the coupon code 50DOLLARS. That’s enough reason to give it a try on your site this month!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Chat rooms have been around for decades now, fulfilling all types of purposes. The first online chat service was in 1980 (at least, according to Wikipedia) and they’ve developed significantly since then. However, with the rise in social media that encompass private and/or public group chat, these dedicated services have became somewhat less necessary. With Nurph, the bridge between social networks and dedicated chat rooms has been built.

Nurph takes a Twitter account and build a chat room onto the side. The idea is that Twitter users can create adhoc chat rooms for their followers to discuss matters in real time, while still maintaining their Twitter branding and profile information. (more…)

I remember the first time I saw IRC in action: I was about 10 years old and an older cousin, a computer engineer who lived with us, would log on to chat rooms to play Acrophobia, Trivia and MadLib. We were on a US Robotics Sportster 9600 baud modem and didn’t know too many other people in India who had an internet connection. Back then, it blew our minds.

IRC or Internet Relay Chat is a form of instant messaging with millions of users worldwide that dates back to 1988. One would log on to a server, pick a chat room called a channel, and then get talking. IRC hasn’t changed very much in all these years – it was meant to be basic and stays true to its roots (which aren’t exactly as described on Numb3rs). However, it was built by geeks for geeks, and so has undergone some development, which you can see in IRCCloud. This still-in-beta app brings IRC to your web browser and lives in the cloud. It offers a contemporary interface and some new features for advanced users. Let’s take it for a spin, shall we?


Last week when Google+ launched, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook was going to make a very exciting announcement this week. They recently held their conference and the announcement was indeed big news! On top of some really nice improvements to Facebook Chat, they announced a partnership with another online giant: Skype.

Keep reading to see a quick overview of the new Facebook features, and what they mean for the future of Facebook, Skype, and Skype’s new owner, Microsoft.


Instead of the standard introduction with a potential scenario that the application can save, I’m going to jump right in because today’s app, Flowdock, has a lot of features. Flowdock combines a group collaboration tool alongside a social media tracking stream to help develop your products and your business. Think of Flowdock as your development dashboard, where you can chat and collaborate, whilst monitoring your criticisms and praises on social networks.

The space for collaboration tools is very much crowded, but Flowdock seems to stand out with it’s Mac-like sex appeal and awesome set of features. As you’ll come to see, Flowdock organises, aggregates and collaborates. (more…)

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