Instant Messengers and Paragraphs

Finding the correct length for an instant message is not always easy.  It all depends on how much you have to say.  The problem is when you have a lot to say you may be tempted to blurt.  The IM version of blurting is a long paragraph of speech.  So how do you curb a blurt?

  1. Delete redundancies
  2. Shorten sentences where possible
  3. Break it up into multiple sends

That should help.

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.

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.

Could a Start Up Benefit From an IM?

Let’s say that like an increasing number of the disposed you are giving up the job search and hanging out your own shingle then you should consider the benefits of an IM.

In the start up phase getting good ideas out, and built on, is how things come to life.  The ability to communicate with partners (or just a trusted sanding board) can be a great benefit.

It can also help you with sharing files, like say potential logo designs from you graphic designer.

A solid, full featured, instant messenger can even help you to get funding.  Imagine being able to update your projections in real time for your potential investors.

Sure, you would be able to do it with emails too, but not as fast.  You could even use the IM once you are up and running.  Think about the benefits to your customer service.

IM’s and Information Security

I stumbled across a posting over at One You, a relatively new blog, about keeping your information safe during IM chats.

It makes some valid points that you should keep in mind, especially when chatting with the unknowns.  Sure, she says that she’s a 20 year old hottie, but can you believe that?

They also had a piece on the porn name game worth checking out.

How Texts and IM’s Can Cause Mass Panic

Recently, there was a text scam going around. A faux warning about gang initiations. (See video below) and it made me realise how likely that is to also happen on an IM. It cause a panic in some areas of the country.

How to deal with a possible scam IM

1. Identify the sender. Are they reliable or prone to gossip?

2. Evaluate the material. Are felons likely to announce their plans to victims? Probably not.

3. When it doubt, check it out. Use a reliable website, search engine or call your local authorities. They will be able to help you figure out fact from scam.

Now, the video:

Mobile IM’s and Cars Don’t Mix

I love my phone.  It lets me do about a million things at once.  One thing I can do is IM in the car.  It is great, provided that I’m not the driver.

The reason I don’t try is because I live in a state that has banned texting while driving.  IM’s are substantially similar to texting, when done on a cell phone.

Not to mention the potential consequences of ending up like this:


(Image Credit)

Or like this:


(Image Credit)

Food for thought.

*A note on substantially similar.  Depending on where you live this may be a legal term.  If you are caught in a substantially similar act then you may be eligible for a ticket even if the law is not specifically about that action.  Always check and obey your local laws.

A Guide to Video Chat Etiquette

If you are new to the world of video chat, or the world of telecommute there are some basic rules to using a video chat.

  • Dress professionally.  Unless your normal office environment is a casual one you will want to dress like you would to go in.  If you have to stand up or sit at a distance this means full body.  Your black sweat pants won’t fool anyone.
  • Remember your lens range and bring things that you are talking about into view.  Talking about the chart that no one can see isn’t productive.
  • Find your body space before the conference/meeting.  You head, shoulders and upper 1/3 of your torso should fit comfortably into the screen, without dominating it.  Don’t be too big or too small. If you are still unsure about what is right look at a television news caster.

From here on in it is standard meeting etiquette. Remember that video chat is the telecommuters version of going on a business trip.