Two of the most popular forms of communication on the Internet today are blogs, and email loops.
Email loops have heavily replaced the old chat rooms for ease of communication while still having some form of intimacy. It’s not quite as ‘real’ as immediate response finger-to-finger (rather than face-to-face) chat room style conversation, but what has made them so popular is that there doesn’t have to be a set time, and you have a record of the entire conversation thread.
Charlotte Dillon, herself the head of several very large, and well-respected email loops hosted on Yahoo groups has a very nice article on how to get the most out of your email group experience. You can read the article here, or visit her site. You can also join one of her groups from this page here. I can’t think of anyone who has done more in building a place on-line for authors (romance authors in particular) to learn, and expand their art than Charlotte. Two thumbs up, and a huge hug for Charlotte who is a wonderful inspiration to so many of us through the years.