With mail, phone, blogs, twiter, skype, and IRC alone there are many way to communicate online. I’ll admit being a heavy Skype user but mostly for its chatting aspect (my unlimited SIP account does the rest – hours of concalls every week). One thing that I’ve been using recently is group chats.
Skype group chats (not public, but with a selected set of participants) feel a lot like IRC to me, expect it doesn’t have a server (one person at least must be connected). I think I like it mostly – history is integrated, topic can be changed, and moving to private messages is easy. Of course you need to change the notification settings given how much more traffic you may get. I stopped using IRC a while back and even with today’s nifty IRC clients, it’s just one too many application running on my desktop. As proprietary as Skype can be, it does the job for me.