I hopped to the link he mentioned, then to another, and (I think) yet another, landing at 37Signals. There I watched the audio/video tour of Campfire, their product for collaborative chat. (The under-five-minute tour is a terrific example of how to do a demo.)
Campfire enables a sort of group IM (more than two people can participate in the conversation), includes file space, maintains a history (chats are recorded), and allows retrieval by chat room, by date, by participant.
As with any new tool, I think you’d feel odd at first, meeting as a virtual group via typed chat rather than on a conference call. The potential benefits seem valuable, though: a record of who said what, the ability to “post-attend” by reviewing what happened in a chat before you got there, the shared files/links.
I’m looking forward to trying this out.