Recently, I’ve started using Instant Messaging software again after a long hiatus. I stopped using it (for a variety of reasons) shortly after I left college (back in 2001). Now that I’m back “on IM,” there’s some things I’ve noticed – some of which I used to do myself, but that now just annoy me.
The main one is this: leaving your IM client on all the time – as in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – but for most of the time, your status is “away.”
I was guilty of doing this back in my college days – leaving IM running all night (usually with some away/status message that I thought was very clever), and then again all day during my classes (again, with some not-really clever status message). Now, granted, being a CS (that’s computer science for the rest of you) major, I did spend a fair amount of time in front of my computer – but even still, something like 75+% of my time was spent “away.”
I never thought of it at the time, but really, in a world where sending an email is free, why in the world would you leave your IM client logged in all the time like that? If you’re not around, why get people’s hopes up by having your client logged in and broadcasting your status to the world? Isn’t it enough to say that if you’re not signed in, that you’re not at your computer? I mean, really, what’s the point of putting up a message saying “I’m not here,” when just … not being there … would send the same sort of message? You might as well put a sign on your empty seat at your desk that says “I’m not sitting here right now.”
Again, I have to say – I was guilty of doing exactly this for many years during college. But now, I just don’t see the point. If you’re going to be away from your computer for a little while (such as for lunch, or just the classic “BRB” – be right back), fine, put up a message. But if you are going to be away from your computer for a long time – for example, you’re going to work and you won’t be back for several hours, or you are going to bed for the night – then just sign off!
Or, at least, that’s my opinion. And with that in mind, I’m signing off. Goodbye!