Tag Archives: AOL Instant Messenger

My First Rule of GChat

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT GCHAT? My “Answers to Common Questions About Gchat” post may be helpful to you.

GChat Status Let me start by saying this. If you are still using Hotmail or Yahoo or any other type of web-based (or even worse: non-web based!) program that is not Gmail, finish reading this post and then go SIGN UP!

Google is one of those companies of which I am truly in awe. (Facebook, Twitter, Apple, AIM, are others that come to mind). Google’s products have COMPLETELY revolutionized our lives. Gmail, Google’s web-based mail application, simply BROKE THE MOLD and shifted the way we think about e-mail communications.

The first example of Gmail’s uniqueness I can think of at the moment is the threaded conversation feature, which has made it easier to follow the life of an e-mail. And the second is its chat feature within the mail client.

In fact, GChat is to this second era of the internet what American Online and American Instant Messenger were to the first. (And, as I wrote in October, it has helped bring about the convergence of our offline and online identities.) People you e-mail a certain number of times get added to the list of people you can chat with. And there are different ways to alert those people to your availability: you can be available to talk, idle if you’re away from the computer, ask people not to message you if you are busy and, lastly, you can “go invisible”. This last status allows you to view and message your contacts without allowing them to do the same.

In the past few weeks I’ve had several experiences which have led me to the creation of my first rule for GChat: I do not talk to those who have made themselves invisible. Why, you ask?

To begin, I consider myself to be a compassionate and loyal friend who stands by and supports the people she cares about. And, truly, I expect nothing less from the people that I allow to be a part of my life. Yes, those words were chosen carefully – being a part of my life and commanding my friendship are privileges.

When someone is “invisible” it means that they can contact me if they need me, but I can’t contact them to do the same. It ruins any chance at a reciprocal relationship which makes it inherently selfish. And that’s the sort of thing that I just can’t tolerate from those around me.

Listen, folks, I know it seems like such a trivial thing to get caught up in, but I think it’s a small thing that reflects a person’s general personality and that’s why it bothers me.

But, let me turn it over to you. How do you feel about “invisible” people on GChat? Do you yourself have rules for GChat?

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT GCHAT? My “Answers to Common Questions About Gchat” post may be helpful to you.

cat and mouse

me (12:24:35 PM): “wehn the cat’s out of town, the mice come out to play”
my friend (12:24:49 PM): when the cats away the mice will play

I hope everyone enjoys my version of the saying. Good thing I have friends like Andrea who also sit online all day to help me figure out what I’m trying to say. I was telling her that my boss and the other person in my department are both out on vacation today and all of next week, so I feel like I should somehow take advantage of this situation. The thing is that I’m really lucky and work independently even when they are here, so it’s not a major change. But still, it’s that same feeling as when your parents go out of town and you are dying to have a huge party because you can, but people aren’t around, or there’s something else going on. And it feels like a wasted opportunity. As a result, I’m updating this from work, which isn’t something I would usually do, so at least I’m doing something.

The other thing that’s been making me laugh recently is the AIM and internship relationship. I have friends who are scared to sign online, and others who literally just sit at work and have conversations all day. I’m somewhere in between. I believe in the philosophy of, “it’s better to ask forgiveness, then permission”. If they have a problem with it, they’ll let me know. At my old job, everyone was always online and it was a good way of communicating rather than sending a thousand short e-mails. Here, I just found out one of my co-workers’ screen name yesterday… It’s a little embarrasing when a IM pops up while someone is at my cubicle, but hey, it happens.