Get it? IM? Instant Messaging? I'm? I am? It's a pun! I think I need to take a break...
So what is the etiquette with instant message? I have to admit that I was beyond excited when JJ at Domesticated sent me an IM a few nights ago when she wanted to move her blog to a different section of the blogroll. It was my first IM. Yes, sniff, I was an IM virgin and JJ popped my cherry (you would think there was nothing left to pop down there since catheters and ultrasound wands have paved a highway).
Okay, so there was an IM-like program on my computer a few years ago that I put on when my friend was living in Ireland. We would "meet" online at a set time for a conversation because we were too cheap for phone cards. But that doesn't really count because those IMs didn't have the little dinging goodness of the one I received from JJ. The dinging goodness of an unexpected IM.
Though...um...I have to admit that I didn't know what it was. I heard the ding when I was in the kitchen and my husband said, "what's that?" It wasn't until a while later when I returned to the computer that I saw the little box on the screen and connected that the dinging sound was my very first IM.
I know I am enthralled with IMing because it is new, and it will soon become as undesirable as answering my cell phone (I am notorious for never having on my cell phone). But until that day arrives, what is the etiquette for IMing? Is it cool to IM anyone who is appearing in my gmail sidebar or do you need to establish an IMing relationship first (by the way, anyone is free to IM me)? If I IM someone and they're not actually at the computer (I, for instance, leave gmail up on the screen sometimes all day, even when I'm not near the computer), will it remain up on their computer until they sit down again, or will it disappear into the ether if they don't answer it within a given amount of time? When do people use IM over an email?
There is so much to learn, so much to learn.