ChaCha adds new meaning to texting

Students use virtual space as encyclopedia
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Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 - 5:32pm

Ever had a question that you couldn't remember for the life of you? Ever wondered why Pluto is no longer considered a planet, or other random things? If so, learning to ChaCha might be something for you.

ChaCha is like 411 through texting. Just text "ChaCha" (242-242) a question and you'll receive an answer as soon as possible. When I texted the question "What is ChaCha?" the response was: "ChaCha answers your questions for free, thanks to human guides who search the Web for you. It's advertising supported."

Who can give out these answers then? Anyone! If you go to chacha.com there is an option "Become a Guide" that can get you up and ready to answer people's questions. It's just like having a real job. There are different categories that you can work under and you get paid for every answer you give.

So, why the odd name? ChaCha.com says it was "selected as the name of the company for three reasons: 1. 'Cha' means 'search' in Chinese. 2. Cha Cha is also a fast-paced ballroom dance, and our Guides can be thought of as dance partners who will lead you to the best answers quickly and smoothly. 3. ChaCha just sounds cool and is a lot of fun to say." There you have it, a cool, fast-paced way to search for answers.

Where did it originate? The ChaCha headquarters are in Carmel, Indiana and was founded in the year 2006 by two entrepreneurs: Scott A. Jones and Brad Bostic. The website states, "ChaCha launched its mobile answers service in January 2008 with a major promotion at the Sundance Film Festival."

So how do you ask questions if you can't text? They actually have people who can take calls at the number 1-800-2ChaCha.

When asked what they thought about this program, most College of Eastern Utah students love it. They have said everything from, "It's so incredibly random and it's always there to give you answer," to, "ChaCha got me through most of my high school and college life." David Osborne stated, "It's pretty awesome and it's better than texting Google." Why not try out this excellent asset?

How much does it cost to use the ChaCha services? As stated before, ChaCha is completely free. Well, as free as a text message is for your specific phone services. If you have unlimited texting, that means you have unlimited access to getting answers fast. It's a lot cheaper than having to pay $1.49 every time you need to call 411 from your mobile phone.

So try it out and begin your ChaCha through life.

Filed under: lifestyles

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ChaCha has actually been hit with some serious bugs over the last 10 days, and the engineers are still struggling to fix them. Most of the guides are not getting questions, and users are getting messages saying ChaCha is unable to answer the question due to system congestion.

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Many people, both astronomers and lay people, DO still consider Pluto a planet. Only four percent of the International Astronomical Union voted for Pluto's demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a petition of 300 astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. I admit to not knowing much about ChaCha, but for detailed, fair, and accurate information about the Pluto issue, especially the fact that it is still very much an ongoing debate, visit http://gpd.jhuapl.edu/ and view/listen to proceedings from this informative two-and-a-half day conference on planet definition that took place this past August.

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