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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

IM Computer Etiquette Illiterate

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. 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.


carey said...

You can set your Gmail IM to say you are busy, available, etc. even a custom message "I'm home, just not sitting in front of the computer". I think you just click on your name and select what you want or type in a custom message :)

If someone IMs you, it'll stay popped up in Gmail. I don't think you have to wait to IM someone... just IM them!!! IM is great if you have a quick question for someone.

Carlynn said...

How funny, I am also notorious for not having my mobile phone on. I'm looking forward to seeing the IM etiquette messages. After so long extracting myself from our social web, it feels so strange actively trying to fit into a community again which is how I feel with the IF blogging ring; for the first time in ages I actually want to reach out and chat.

A said...

Somehow I completely missed this post. I am a serious IM junkie. I have 5 different IM programs to keep in touch with various people in various lands. It's a wonderful thing.

And if someone is signed on and available, if I want to chat, I send them a message.

I'm also open to receiving IMs at any given time. And if I'm not signed on, I love signing on to find old messages!

There are some people that it's wiser for me to IM with as opposed to email. My email inbox can get crowded really quickly otherwise. :-)