I’m Getting Back on the Instant Messaging Horse

For the last couple of years, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid using instant messaging applications. I always found them to be an unwanted interruption to whatever I was doing at a given time.

That said, like Apple computers, most of the smart people I know use instant messaging. So, I’m going to give IM another try. If you want to talk to me, you can do so here:

MSN: darrenbarefoot@hotmail.com (don’t email me there, though)
Skype: dbarefoot

Is there some other network that all the cool kids are using? I know there’s Yahoo and AIM and ICQ and Google, and a single IM app like Trillian to handle them all, but do I really have to sign up for all those services? Haven’t you people heard of standards bodies?

Sorry, I just get irked when the software industry likes to make things as difficult as possible for its users.

UPDATE: It took all of 12 hours for somebody to ignore my ‘Busy’ status on MSN, and try to message me anyway. The experiment has gotten off to a poor start.


  1. I use AIM tons because of its integration with iChat, which I always have going — but for Windows uses, AIM isn’t much better than any other client.


  2. I agree with the support for AIM. Mainly because I can use iChat. Also though because I have successfully had ichat video on my side and and AIM video at the other end. I don’t like the PC AIM client very much on the PC, but have used Trillian in the past. I also have MSN because so many people are wrapped up in the PC/Microsoft world. Curiously though I now have corporate MSN at work now. The client on the PC is exclusive meaning I have to run MSN as well for personal contacts. On the Mac I can do both in one App. Made me smile, the Mac version is doing the PC thing better than the PC 🙂

  3. AxsDeny: I didn’t so much settle on MSN, as it was what was already installed on my Windows machine. Is AIM considerably more pervasive? Are there any numbers to support that?

  4. I started out using ICQ in the late 90’s (had a UID in the tens of thousands) but switched to MSN because everyone I knew was using it and the ICQ client kept getting more bloated. I’ve never really met anyone who used AIM as their primary IM tool. AIM may be more pervasive world wide, but you have to tailor your choice to what people you want to talk to actually use.

  5. Darren, glad to hear you are back in IM land. You can keep me updated on the hockey season, I never think of looking myself.

    As for client status, most people I know ignore it unless the status is ‘away’. Busy means you are still at your machine and they think their chat with you is of greater importance than that which you place on your busy-ness.

  6. What’s your real purpose for being on IM? Is it to talk to people when you’d like to, or simply open the lines for random chatting when you’re at your computer?

    If it’s the former, your best option to avoid being bothered is to sign in when you’d like to chat, and sign out when you don’t. Also a friendly “sorry I didn’t reply to your IM, but when I’m busy, I’m actually busy” email is a nice way of letting people know that you demand r-e-s-p-e-c-t for your availability status icons, yo.

    Your other option is choosing “appear offline”. Your status is hidden, but you can message whomever you like.

  7. Boy, if interrupting IMs peeve you, you must really flip out when the phone rings or someone knocks on your door, or talks to you when you’re trying to read. 🙂


  8. Like Chris, I have a ridiculously low ICQ UIN … that was the first I used. Now I use trillian, because I have friends who run ICQ, MSN & Yahoo, and I’d like to keep them all on my list… although I rarely actually use it, and frequently have it set to piss off and not bother me. Still, it’s handy when I do use it.

    But AIM? I find it really odd that everyone is recommending that — I don’t know anyone who uses AIM as their primary IM (which is why I don’t use it). My impression seems to be that only newbies and ex-or-current AOL users use it. Granted, that’s a large number of people… but not exactly in my primary social circle.

    I’ll try not to sound TOO superior, though… 😉

  9. Everybody I know uses MSN. And my last two companies insisted that I have it running while I am working. It’s a good way to request a meeting with a coworker without properly disturbing them.

    When I put myself on “Busy” the only messages I get will be “Are you really busy?” and “I know you’re busy, but I really need to talk to you about something.” And those are rare. Put yourself on “Busy” if you don’t want any idle chit-chat, and “Available” if you don’t mind screwing with your own productivity.

    Usually I’m on “Available”, but if I’m stressed out and likely to bark at anyone who dares talk to me, I’ll put myself on “Busy”. Then only my workmates will bug me, and then, they’re allowed.

  10. I’m using Gaim myself (I never liked Trillian) to hook into all the networks except for Skype. I like Skype’s DND setting … when you’re on DND … nothing pings up at all.

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