Barbara Cardin: Web WonderWoman
Campfire is a web-based group chat tool that lets you set up password-protected chat rooms in just seconds. Invite a client, colleague, or vendor to chat, collaborate, and make decisions.
Campfire is team collaboration with real time chat. It's just like instant messaging but it's designed exclusively for groups. You can share text and files in real time.
Here's a real life example:
A few months ago we needed some specialized graphics for a trade show banner. Our graphic designer sent us a proof by email. We emailed back some revisions. She revised and sent us another proof by email. And so on. The time spent on emailing wasn't overwhelming. But the back and forth process ate up most of an afternoon. We almost missed our printer's deadline. Combining all the back and forth into one chat session, and simultaneously viewing the images would have been preferable and the project would have completed much earlier.
While all of that is good, the best thing about Campfire is transcripts. We live in a fast paced world and anyone who says they remember everything said in a meeting is … well … mistaken. With Campfire, you can eliminate misunderstandings.
There are some other obvious advantages with Campfire. You don't waste time driving to and from an appointment. And you won't slip on the ice that covers the parking lot you're in. And because of the transcripts feature, someone who misses a meeting can easily be brought up to speed.
One more thing. Face to face meetings are great, of course. They build and strengthen relationships. But when it's time to get down to brass tacks, lengthy side conversations about football games and hair styles just waste time. Chat programs like Campfire have a way of distilling conversations down to the essentials.
For as little as $12 per month you can have 12 simultaneous chatters. For most small businesses that is plenty sufficient.