April 5th, 2008
Joe Kissell on Instant Messaging for Introverts:
From time to time, someone I know asks me an ordinary and reasonable question: "What's your iChat (or Skype) ID?" My usual reply is to give them the information along with a big disclaimer: I'm almost never logged in. In fact, let me be completely honest and say I thoroughly dislike instant messaging (IM) except in a few specific situations. For months, I've been thinking about why this is – both the technological and psychological aspects – along with whether it somehow exposes a fundamental character flaw, and whether it's something I should attempt to change. [...]
My work doesn't require me to use IM, so I'm at least spared the problems of arranging IM sessions with colleagues that Kissell describes. I do have IM accounts on ICQ, AIM and Yahoo!, but prior to my firing up Adium five minutes ago1 I don't think I've launched an IM program in about two years.
My personality type (which is similar to Kissell's) isn't the sole reason for my failing to adopt IM,2 but it clearly played a part. In the unlikely event that I find myself having to use IM for work, I'll have to remember some of his tips for making IM work for introverts.
- To a) remind myself of which IM networks I had accounts with, and b) check whether any of them had been disabled for lack of use. ↩
- The fact that even now, more than a decade on from Mirabilis releasing ICQ back in 1996, there are still several mutually incompatible major IM networks is ludicrous. Thank heavens an open email standard was out there before the internet became a big business. ↩