Saturday, April 14, 2007

Meebo adventures

Our library decided to try to go with the flow and experiment with IM in place of the chat service we've been using from RightNow Technologies. We started our experiment this week with Meebo. Too early to tell if users are going to like it better, but from our end as agents it's been sooooo annoying it's unbelievable! It's been erratic: Sometimes it loads. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it likes Firefox. Sometimes it doesn't seem to want to load. Sometimes it likes IE ok. Sometimes it says we're offline when we aren't. We haven't got a way to tell each other if we're in the middle of a chat so that the next librarian can take over. We've taken to pretending we're the public and letting the librarian on duty know that the next person's ready to take over. We can't log on more than one of us as an agent at a time. Since there's no encouragement for users to leave us their email address, if a session gets dropped or we think of something to add to our answer after the session's over, there's no way to get back to the patron. There are no chat logs. There is no automatic way to keep statistics. Running Meebo as a sidebar in FireFox is sort of ok, but it's hard to make Meebo fit in that area very well. If more than one chat comes in, the little Meebo screens just topple over each other making it hard to switch back and forth. We don't have sound cards at the PCs at the Reference Desk so there is "beep" to let us know that someone wants to IM. Meebo doesn't pop up with a window so it is difficult to multitask and remember to watch the screen to see if someone wants to IM. We can't tell when users disconnect. THEN.... to add to the technical issues, we find that we are not doing well at IM. We're not fast enough. If we tell a patron to wait a minute and let us check on something for them, it turns out that they are often gone when we get back.

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