The big problem with synchronous online communication is that it doesn't seem to scale very well. For one-on-one talking, very interesting conversations can take place. Using the unix talk protocol, virtually real-time talking can occur. This protocol sends each character across the network individually so that both parties can watch words appear as they are being typed. While this does happen to show off the typing skills (or lack thereof) of the users, it also allows for a much more involved conversation where one can anticipate words and sentences before they are completed, and pauses in typing can be used for emphasis.

However, traditional talk only works between two people which doesn't lend itself to the notion of a group very well, and even more advanced talk protocols only scaled to about three or four people before it becomes too much effort to follow all of the conversations which are occurring at one time.