We have received some questions about how FireChat works. We would like to clarify: FireChat is a tool for public communications.
FireChat works like Twitter and Instagram from the perspective of message distribution. Anyone can see the messages that you post on FireChat, whether you are in a big chatroom or a small chatroom. Messages on FireChat are comparable to tweets, and chatrooms (a.k.a. firechats) could be thought of as hashtags. Or if we were to use an older example, FireChat could be compared to CB radio: a practical way to have a live interactive chat with other people within a number of different channels.
Some people use FireChat with their real name or other identifying information. Some don’t. We leave this decision to the users. Unlike Facebook and Google, we do not require the use of real names.
The key benefit of FireChat is that it enables off-the-grid communication, e.g., when there is no Internet connection or cellular phone coverage. Here is how the students of Hong Kong use FireChat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT1j8V-P1PQ
FireChat allows people to reach and chat with a large number of people in real time and create their own chatrooms.
FireChat is not a tool for private communications. People who use Twitter understand that their communications are public. They can use pseudonyms and know that what they tweet may be seen by other people. It is the same with FireChat.
So let’s recap. FireChat is a tool for public communications that works even when cellular networks are congested. It is not a tool for private communications, although we are working on that.
Thank you for reading and sharing
The Open Garden team