This is an OPTIONAL addition to the WET campaign experience...no one is required to use AIM to talk to HQ. We found that it was very useful during Xcov23. In addition to HQ 'chatting' with observers, observers talked among themselves
To get started, go to AIM.com and download a client for your computer. Or, you can use AIM Express or AIM Quick Buddy as Web/Java chat programs. You'll need an AIM 'screen name' which you can obtain for free on the AIM website. Other IM clients are also compatible with AIM, but be sure that you get a client that can do group chat; it's probably best to choose the client that has the most features as well.
Once you have everything ready, set up an account, and use a name that will be easily recognizable to other WET participants.
After logging in, look for an option called something like "Join a Chat!". There is an ongoing chat room that will (hopefully) be alive at: xcov24. It is being held in place by a placeholder account xcov24hq, but the HQ staff will actually be at wholeearthscope. If you see no one there, send an e-mail to the HQ account and we'll connect, otherwise chat away!
This is an experiment, so it's likely that there will be oddities and problems. Consider this an evaluation to see if instant messenging might be useful for the WET in the future. If you have difficulties with configuration or connection, contact Steve, Reed or HQ with questions.