I was reading through my entry about IM etiquette today, and realized there’s more things I didn’t touch on regarding IM’ing me. So I figured, yet another entry on this issue would help clear the air.
A lot of people have mentioned that if I was TRULY away, that my IM names would show as “Idle,” and also show the amount of time I’m Idle. Not on my end, I run a 3rd Party IM client, and have Idle disabled in the preferences.
“But Corey, why don’t you re-enable it, so that way people will know when you’re away?” Not going to happen.
You see, I have certain issues with Idle on IM clients that I haven’t dealt with yet. I’m going to therapy for it, so maybe in 5 years, I’ll be ok.
Firstly, on my IM client (Pidgin), when I go into Idle mode, it automatically changes my status message from the one I set, to a generic one. I hate generic Away messages to no end. I have yet to see a setting in Pidgin to fix that, so I turn off Idle.
Second, Idle messages are unreliable ways of knowing when someone comes back to their computer. Think about this, you see someone Away with an Idle time, then you notice that their Idle timer has been reset, and they are only showing as Away. You instantly assume that they are back at their computer, so you send a message that you want answered. You wait, and wait, and wait, and get no response, then only to check back and see that they are Idle again.
What a jerk! Comes back to their computer, sees your message, and has the audacity NOT TO RESPOND! You then start cutting yourself, crying about it on Livejournal, and start a band known notoriously for wearing women’s jeans.
But before you apply the Maybelline Mascara son, maybe you should think about the other viable options as to why you received no message:
-Your friend did not come back to his computer. His cat jumped up on his desk, which in turn bumped his mouse, causing his idle timer to reset.
-Friend had to jump on the computer to check something (driving directions, print off a paper, news headline, eject his iPod from iTunes, etc.), left as quickly as he arrived, and did not see your message, because it was sent after he left.
-Your friend has an elderly Japanese woman living in his closet that he is unaware of, and she is using his computer.
Either of these three are viable reasons as to why your IM wasn’t responded to.
Lastly, anyone who knows me knows that I hate morning, and hate waking up twice as much. When I first wake up, I don’t want to talk to anyone or mess with anything. Therefore, like the first hour I spend awake is spent surfing the Internet, void of any IM contact. If I leave Idle enabled, then the instant I get to the computer, people know it. I’m then barraged with IM’s, and get a bunch of people pissed at me for not responding. Which is lose-lose, because if I did respond, they would be pissed at me, because the first hour I’m awake, I’m not nice.
Now, if I don’t have Idle set up, then there’s no way of knowing that I’m at my computer, until I either IM you, or set myself as available. That saves us both the trouble.
Also, I have noticed that people are getting their panties in a bunch over the fact that I don’t respond to IM’s when I’m available. I try to respond to everyone who talks to me online, with a few exceptions made to people who I don’t like. However, there’s just some people who usually don’t get responded to at all, because they hit one of my pet peeves online. They send me messages which don’t incite conversation.
When I respond to IM’s, I’ve noticed that I respond a lot more frequently to messages intended to spark up a conversation about something, unless I’ve been meaning to contact you, and you got to me first. It could be about anything really, ranging from, “Hey, have you heard Neon Horse’s new song?” to, “Does Nair work on back hair?” Just something that sparks conversation. That doesn’t mean that the conversation will evolve past me telling you Nair does work on back hair (Not that I know from experience), but it will at least get my attention and at least provoke a response from me.
Anyone that knows me will also attest to the fact that I use stuff like this to start IM conversations. The only exception being if we were scheduled to talk online at a certain time, in which case, at said time, I will send a casual greeting.
Please note that saying “Hey,” “Yo,” “Sup?” any other derivative of a greeting does not incite conversation. Try doing this in real life. Walk around all day long. Stop anyone you meet, whether you know them or not, and just use one of those greetings. See how many go into lengthy conversations with you after saying one of those.
When the loneliness of not having anyone to talk to drifts away, get back to me. Because I guarantee you 95% or more people will not go beyond returning the greeting. Why? Because YOU CAN DO THAT TO ANYONE! You could say “Hey,” to that boss at work who you secretly dream about running over with a tractor trailer. You can say “Sup?” to your ex-girlfriend who told everyone that you were gay. You can say “How’s it hanging?” to your pastor. (I do not condone that last one, for the record.)
Giving someone a casual greeting is something subconscious, and requires little to no effort at all. I, having the same behavioral patterns as you, know this, and therefore don’t respond to it online.
But say something that sparks conversation to someone, anyone, and you will get a response. Unless, of course, they’re jerks who are off in their own world, or they’re deaf-mutes. Saying, “This is beautiful weather, isn’t it?” will probably get that lady at the post office to agree. Saying, “That new Blizzard is the bomb,” at DQ will probably get suggestions about new ice creams they offer from the cashier. Saying “Those melons are huge!” at the grocery store will…probably get you smacked by the good-looking mother next to you. But hey, two out of three ain’t bad.
Sadly, I have one friend that thinks I hate his guts because I don’t talk to him. He confronted me about it the first time he saw me offline in ages this weekend, to which I had to iterate everything that I just wrote to him. Which got me thinking: He isn’t the only that does this.
So I figured I would touch more on what burns me when it comes to IM, because my original posting about it actually did make a difference in the levels of stupidity I had to contend with on IM, so I figured I might be able to drop the levels even further by elaborating.
But then again, it’s the Internet, so who knows?