Echolink that it is. But, I hate to give the impression that I dislike it or disapprove of it. On the contrary, it is what it is. It's another method of communication; and to a certain extent I make use of it myself.
I have found it to be an excellent way of keeping in touch with my friend Bob W3BBO. Bob lives in Erie, PA; and for a short time, he lived here in Central NJ back in the 90's when his job had transferred him out here.
When Bob retired and moved back to Erie, it was a serious blow. Fortunately, beside keeping in touch via HF we try to hook up with each other each weekend via Echolink. It's like talking on the telephone, more than anything else. But it's free; and it is good to hear Bob's voice on a regular basis. We chew the fat and keep tabs on progress of each other's radio projects.
I think the HF bands are more conducive and are far more practical for a "CQ" and then hooking up with someone you don't know. You put out a call; and if someone is interested, they take the bait and you begin what will hopefully be a good conversation. To me, it seems a bit presumptuous to just pick a stranger's callsign off a list, and then connect with them and just start rambling on, hoping that they'll be interested in talking to you.
However, for keeping in touch with (how's this for an oxymoron?) distant, close friends then Echolink is the "cat's pajamas" or "da bomb" as the young folks say today.
73 de Larry W2LJ