I don't know about you guys, but instant messenger is a permanent fixture in my life. At work, via Office Messenger, I'm connected to literally everyone with an email address like mine. I also log into Gmail everyday because I have OCD and can't handle when my emails pile up. Gchat was a huge part of my law school life (holla if anyone ever saved your ass when you didn't have a clue what the Prof was talking about), and my Gchat list is extensive. Even though I love the ability to instantly chat with people - both about important things and nonimportant things - I've developed a few pet peeves when it comes to my instant messengers. I know, you're all shocked.
These are going to come across terribly bitchy and self-important. But, I promise that I follow my own rules, and that I think with a bit of instruction and practice, we can all live in an instant messenger utopian paradise.
1. Know when to send an email: this one is work people specific - sending me an IM about something that's "important" is just the silent equivalent of barging into my office. Send me an email. If its important, mark it high priority.
2. Know your audience: I find it hysterical and annoying all at the same time when people use super proper grammar. IM is not a thesis. I do not care that you know big words. I care about when lunch is. I care about what you thought of the Hoosier game. If you start writing to me as if you want me to grade your paper, I'm going to give you an F and mark it "tries too hard." If, on the other hand, I'm your boss, perhaps you shouldn't "lolz" me.
3. Let me work: if I don't respond to you right away, I'm either working or I don't really want to talk to you. Either way, leave me alone until I respond back. I promise that I'll reciprocate this and I won't bother you again until you respond to me. This way we'll have a conversation that's paced ideally for us both.
4. Let me work part 2: on the same lines, I'm almost always red on gchat during the work hours. Unless we have a preexisting relationship where we *always* talk to each other on red (I'm thinking of my best friend here), if you know my invisibility secret (no, I can't reveal this secret on my blog - I treasure it!), or I initiate the conversation, don't bother me. If, on the other hand, its 8pm at night, feel free to bother me. I'm usually just too lazy to change it.
5. Don't Ask Don't Tell: as a result my office having access to me via Office and Gmail automatically adding people to my contact list after they are included in so many emails, my contact list ranges from best friend to bosses bosses boss. Most times, all my conversations are topically appropriate for the relationship. But every once in a while, someone tries to cross that line. You know the one I'm talking about - the line into personal information territory. My simple rule for this one is: if you wouldn't ask me to my face, don't ask me over instant messenger. And, if you think its ok to ask someone face to face if they are knocked up, and you don't know their middle name, then you should lock yourself in a closet because you are not fit for society.
6. Rude vs. Funny: support @shawnmccusker and just say no to the use of the passive aggressive email smiley face (I'd link his tweet and twitter account here, but I cannot even begin to figure out how to do that). If you need to use a smiley or some variation thereof to diffuse the message, you're being a jerk. Again, say it to my face or don't say it at all. And, if you think you're being funny but you're afraid of how the person will react so you add the smiley, you should reword, because you're not being funny, you're being a jerk.
What did I miss? If this utopia is going to work, we all have to put forth some effort. Also, feel free to tell me I'm (a) crazy or (b) lame. These are things I need to know, too.