If you want to be part of the instant messaging universe, you have to get one thing straight: Treat the technology the same way you would treat regular conversation. Because I have the technology and use it a lot, I can say Iâ€™ve made some of the most common mistakes. Some of what I discuss is a matter of common sense - you must use it to stay in the game and preferably out from behind prison bars.
No One Knows Everything
Assume the person on the other end doesnâ€™t know his or her IM client like you do. This means that if he or she is still listed as available and there is no response to your IMs, then you need to step back and let him or her find you. The more you try to draw a person's attention to you, the more it distracts him or her from whatever that person was doing. Then when he or she does respond, itâ€™s in a furious rage. If he or she tells you that they aren't familiar with the software, then show him or her how to make an away message. The person will appreciate the help, but more than likely wonâ€™t think of you the same again.
If you donâ€™t have that many friends in your life, treasure them. This means that when they come online, let them settle into their chair and grab a Coke. If you pop up on Instant Messenger as soon as they sit down, theyâ€™ll assume you were waiting for them to come on all day. The desire for human communication needs to be governed by the requirement that you have a little space between moments of togetherness.
Stick To A Single Conversation
Iâ€™m a random person and my mind goes to a lot of different places. If you cannot find someone like you, assume that he or she might not want to talk about everything you like. If he or she wants to change the subject, change it. A switch in the conversation doesnâ€™t mean a lack of interest, but thereâ€™s only so much you can talk about in one subject. Message boards are better for that kind of thing as opposed to instant messaging programs.
So How Did You Get My Handle?
This is directed more toward those who use the dating services such as Match.com. When a person asks you how you found her handle, assume she doesn't know how online services like Match.com work. When a person creates a profile on Match.com, their IM handle is attached, no matter which client they use. Itâ€™s better to email them first because thatâ€™s what most people who place personal ads will respond to.