IM Annoyance: Making it up as you go

The land of IM is where abbreviated typing now known erroneously as text speak, began.  A lot of the time, this is a great time saver, or finger saver as the case may be.

A problem arises when people try to make it up as they go along.  Who knows what WAFH means?

  • Wearing a funny hat
  • Waiting around for Harry
  • Working for a Fu*** hick

The potential is endless.  Word to the wise, don’t make up your own, it’s too unclear.

IM’s Why Can’t You Hang Up on Just One Person?

A note to all instant messenger developers, here is a great idea for a new feature: individual status settings.

Think about the value here, of being online, and chatting, while certain key people think you are away. Possible scenarios include:

* Ditching your ex (who still wants closure after 6 months) without avoiding your friends.
* Staying away from your boss who wants you to come in on your daughters birthday.
* Not being barraged by a deluged of IM’s when you only want to talk to one person.

Food for thought developers.

Instant Messenger Do’s and Don’ts

Apparently there are still some people out there in cyber land who does not get the basics of using an instant messenger program. Even though this is not a new technology it must still be confusing to some users. To help you out, here are some basic do’s and don’ts:

* Do sign on only when you actually want to talk with people.
* Do make good use of your away messages. You can set a custom status for a reason.
* Do not include your phone number in your instant messenger away message unless you actually want to be called.
* Do not use your IM while you are impaired by any chemical substance.
* Do not try to hold more than 3 conversations simultaneously, you will get confused quickly.
* Do not send messages to people with an away status just to check in. If they are set to away then do not want to be bothered.
* Do not pretend to be someone that you aren’t. It is just annoying.

There you have it, some basic rules.

Keeping Your IM’s Separate

Nowadays IM’s are showing up just about everywhere.  The question is do you really want it to?

You can end up with an IM in your email (Gtalk in Gmail) and in your social networking (Facebook) and even while you are using another IM tool (Jabber).

Do we really need all of this connection?  It leads to a chronic form of distraction.  A kind that keeps you from getting any kind of real work done.

Don’t get me wrong.  An IM can be a great productivity tool, just like a cell phone.  Like a phone there is a time and a place to turn it off.  Otherwise everything that you try to do will be endlessly distracted.  A 30 minute task could end up taking you 2 hours.

Maybe, we should learn to turn off the constant chatter and just focus.

IM Ettiquete: I Clicked on The Wrong Name!

It happens every once and awhile.  Maybe you were tired or distracted.  Whatever the reason you clicked on the wrong name.  It is a minor faux pas in the grand scheme of things, but just in case here are steps for handling the situation.

If you realize at the beginning of a conversation here are your options:

  • Have a brief chat on a topic that is actually relevant to your unintended chat partner.
  • Explain that you miss clicked and apologize for interrupting them.

If you realized in the middle of a conversation here are some options:

  • Apologize for getting off on a tangent and re-orient the conversation.
  • Fess up to your case of mistaken identity and explain the similarity in user names that caused the confusion.

If you figured it out at the end of the conversation then the damage is already done.

Nixing IM Distractions

IM’s can be a great communication and productivity tool.  Like any good thing however, too much can be a problem.  When you really need to concentrate here are some thoughts on managing your IM.

An IM you use for communications with clients or co workers if, during business hours you need to focus on a task set a period of time.  For example, 1 hour.  State that time length on your away message.

An IM client that is used for general business communications.

When your business IM does not have a specific purpose you should fee free to put on your away message as you need.

A personal IM

Just turn it off.  Your friends can wait for awhile.

Your IM and Password Security

Stalking, and just plain crazy ex’s in general, are a dime a dozen in this world.  One of the ways that they can trash your life, or simply find out where you are going all the time is to break into your IM.  You can only imagine the possibilities there.

How do you keep this horrible fate from happening to you?  Well, all you have to do is keep an eye on your passwords.  If your crazy ex can’t get into your account havok can be circumvented.

While there are a lot of good sites that give you the standard warnings, I found this post on One You that is worth the read.  It’s all about choosing a random password.

Is IM Speak OK for Adults?

Today’s question to the community is about IM chat.  You know phrases like:

“Will I C U 2 nite?”

“That will B Gr8”

The question is, should an adult be using these abbreviations?

My answer, it depends on the context.

For business the answer is a universal no.

Personal is a grey area.  Just do what feels natural and you will usually be right.  If you want to be sure go on a case by case basis.

An IM Tease

An annoying habit of some IMers is the propensity to give you a little bit of data without filling in all of the blanks.  It can go a little bit something like this:

Janie80: Going to the bar tonight u wanna come?

Roboticous: Sure, when?

Janie80: Later.  Gotta run C U 2 nite.

Janie80: Signed off

Annoying since you don’t know where or when.  When the matter is personal this isn’t a big deal.  Most of us could do without the expense and humiliation of drinking out.

If the matter is business it can be more of an issue.  Missing an important meeting can be a career ender.

The Not so Instant Messenger

Have you ever been involved in an IM chat like this?

Tommyboy187 (9:38pm): Hi

PrincessK09 (9:38pm): Hi

Tommyboy187 (9:46pm): What’s new?

PrincessK09 (9:47pm): Not much, just finishing up my Lit project.  You?

Tommyboy187 (9:59pm): Not much

The person starts a conversation then takes at least 5 minutes to respond to postings.  It is irksome.  Imagine, just for a second, that this was a phone call.  You would hang up with that long of a pause.  It’s rude.  Bottom line, if you start a conversation respond promptly and engage actively in the conversation.  It’s just good manners.  If something came up then excuse yourself.