Geeks typically prefer IRC over IM protocols like Jabber or AIM, because it’s better for topic-based chat (i.e., channels). But for point-to-point communication, IM protocols like AIM and Jabber are superior.
Benefits of Jabber or AIM over IRC:
- Presence - You don’t have to waste time on “hey, you there?” or “ping” as your initial message.
- Typing notification - Knowing when the other person is in the middle of composing a message, versus waiting for you to respond, is a subtle but extremely important feature. Typing notifications increase the bandwidth of the communication medium dramatically. Without it, conversation is clumsy - you don’t know when the other person is done answering a question, and thus conversation threads become tangled very easily.