Chat rooms and email mailing lists are fine for some types of group conversations, but if you really need to get a group of geographically diverse folks together for a chat nothing beats an old-school conference call — especially when some members of the group are technologically challenged. My own large family has been making great use of freeconference.com for phone-based family meetings. To join in, each participant just makes a regular toll call to a number in Iowa (usually via cell phones with no long distance charges), then enters a numerical code that we agreed on in advance. The service takes care of the rest, automatically linking everyone who entered the same code with a minimum of fuss. There’s no charge other than long distance, it works reliably, and best of all anyone who can dial a phone can join the conversation.