as a chat user I have noticed a phenomonen that is limiting chat use. At the bottom of the home page you can see whether or not there is anyone in chat. Often you see someone there but when you open the chat window they are seen to have left just as you arrived.
What is actually happening is that the who is in chat function is only updated every 5 minutes so often it appears that someone is there but they have already left. The leaving message is displayed as you entrr so it appears that you just missed them when they could have left long ago.
The best way to make this work is not to pop in for a second or two, see it's empty and pop out again but to open chat and leave it open. If someone else joins you will then me informed by the entry sound. If you are busy but want to keep the window open mark yourself and 'away' so people know that you cannot be reached right now.
That way it is not so frustrating when you go in only to find it is actually empty.
I was the Snowman in another life...