21 May 2010

Lissn: A Neo-Retro Take On Online Chats


Quirky takes on old ideas attract me and sometimes they even capture my attention long enough to post about them. A Neo-Retro 2010 take on online chat rooms (a nineties thing) sure did just that.

Lissn idea is to make for a more accessible online chatting that can be fully public and yet feel personal.  The execution is really marrying the old late nineties browser chat room, web based IM clients and some in vogue options  like sharing your chats via Facebook or Twitter. Or at least that is the feel i get after having tested it recently.

The reason i call it Neo-Retro is because it uses current modern web conventions mixed with a old web model in a anachronistic look and feel. It of course may not end up looking or feeling like this at all once it reaches a fully realized 1.0 version. Whenever that may be, but at this moment is how it call it.

Quick Walkthrough


The first you see on when visiting is a welcoming emoticon asking you to register, a demo video and the counter of people in the site under the “world” description at the top right of the site.


User Page

Once you have registered, you are greeted by a card asking you to start a conversation. While giving hints of what themes you can use in your chats like: Ask, Tell, Teach.

You can also see that there are new counters in the top right corner for “Memory” and “Me”.

Memory is for chats you bookmark so you can easily keep track of them and reply back later if you have to go off.

Me are for the chats initiated by you.


If you still have some doubt there is a help card you can consult by clicking the “explain this page” action link.


Chat Channels

In the case of the World Channel, it will only list the active chat channels from registered users online in the lissn site. Me and Memory will list all the chats initiated or bookmarked respectively.


A Lissn Chat


Once you enter a active lissn chat you will see that how things work. The host will be the indicated by the Host Picon at the left and all visitors picons will be put at the right. If you like the site, you just  click remember to bookmark it for revisiting it later or you can send a shout out for it via Facebook or Twitter so potentially more people join the chat. That is it at this point.

Some Notes

As i said, this is a web service in transition and the transition can be seen as Alpha to Beta. It should change a lot. The reason i found it amusing is because i would like to see the idea executed well since it intrigues me.  I have seen this idea before fail with thins like Lingr or Chatte. 

So if lissn want to do better it needs to shake up the look, add a great template that makes the chats feel more like a cross of IM and Social Messaging (Twitter, Yammer) and allow not only for text but a lot more. Another thing would be to make it extensible to websites and blogs by allowing chats to be redistributable via Widgets.  That without mentioning that it needs a proper homepage, blog and feedback form. Because if it lacks to evolve that way, it will just fade away like previous attempts in this niche.







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