I have found that the NLLN subscription to OPAL webconferencing software has been extremely useful for small meetings, for sharing documents, and for NLLN planning. The multitype directors use it regularly for meetings and planning in between face-to-face meetings.
I especially enjoy the OPAL website and the constant stream of programs available there in real-time and in the archives. Some amazing opportunities have come past that provided good learning experiences of personal and professional interest.
Chat - as in Google Chat -- is just the best for quick conversations with others. I like the fact that Google records and keeps a transcript of these conversations. I have used the group chat function to some extent, but it didn't prove to be quite as useful as I thought it would be. Though I use it at work for "on the fly meetings with colleagues, my favorite use is with my daughters who live in distant locations -- but are at work most days!
E-mail and wikis are also part of my tool box when it comes to planning and implementing NLLN programs.
I think this is a particularly useful "Thing" -- but it sure includes a lot of alternatives!