Monday, July 9, 2007

Travis Spomer is typing a message...

I don't like it when IM clients tell people when I am typing. I dunno; it's like this tiny invasion of my privacy. One of the nice things about IM versus real conversations is that I can change things before I say them, or choose not to say them at all. When the other person's window says "Travis Spomer is typing..." as soon as I type the first letter, some of that is lost. It's actually probably not a big deal at all; I'm sure most people aren't as neurotic as I am.

In addition to the "person is typing" notifications, the business IM client I use at work also gives me a notice when someone I'm talking to closes the window. This gives me even more things to obsess over. Now I can't close my IM windows until you do, because I don't want to be the one who says "hey you're boring me, so I'm going to go do something else now." It may be true, but I don't want to say it, even so implicitly.

I tend to read a little bit too far into those kinds of notifications. If you start typing, then delete your message, and then start again, and then delete it again, and then do that once or twice more, I notice. I don't know what it means, but I notice it. Did you want to continue the conversation, but couldn't think of anything else to say? Are you nervous when talking to me? Is it my fault? Should I think of something else to say so we can continue our conversation? So many suffocating possibilities... I always overanalyze things like that.

I don't really want people to know when I'm typing for that reason. It's not a good reason. I just don't want to tip my hand like that. I like that little private aspect of IM conversations.


Anonymous said...

Wow - and I thought I overanalyzed every little thing!

Personally, I like that little aspect of Yahoo!Messenger (can't remember if Windows Live Messenger does it too) You wouldn't believe the number of times I have almost closed down the application on people who were just taking their time to respond.

Of course, something I have noticed is that they are a bit buggy when it comes to "X is typing" On Yahoo, if someone is typing a long message, that information will cut out, even though they are still typing.

As for IMing manners - I haven't really noticed any. Many times when I am talking to people, I notice they just stop responding after they have said what they feel like saying. Many people just leave without saying goodbye. Courtesy just doesn't really exist all the much in the IMing realm.

Travis said...

I say this in a not-at-all-mean way: maybe it's an age thing. A couple years can make a lot of difference in technology. In college, IM was the way to communicate amongst my friends. Most people were always online; seeing people who had been online for weeks at a time was the norm. We IMed a lot, and we became very good at it. I often don't end my conversations with goodbye or any other salutation, but that's partially because with IM, there's little "cost" associated with leaving the conversation open. You can just as easily resume a conversation from an hour ago as one from a minute ago. It's kind of like at a party, where you learn to talk about things in short little bursts that stand on their own, instead of long, well-thought-out conversations. Perhaps it's ruining our language skills as a society, but it suits the medium quite well.

Matthew Johnson said...

I would say I grew up in the same environment (nay, the same building), but I tend to end my IM conversations with some kind of farewell if the conversation was more than a quick question. Otherwise, I feel like I'm walking out in the middle. On the other hand, I'm never surprised or offended that other people don't do the same thing, so I must do it to ease my own conscience.

Travis said...

According to my IM logs, you end in a "goodbye" of some sort about 30% of the time, and many of them are "I'm leaving for your place now; I'll see you in a few." Your best goodbye in recent memory was this one:

Matt: ouch, my hymen! watch where you put that thing!
Matt: err, i mean, g'night

Matthew Johnson said...

Foiled by IM logging!

Anonymous said... there is something that actually does freak me out a bit. Saving IM conversations. I used to do it a ton when I was on ICQ, but now a days I don't do it. I guess I don't want someone having some of what I say forever logged somewhere that they could pull it up later. Who knows...I might run for president one day ;)It's almost as creepy as someone having pictures of you saved on their hard drive.