Putting the ‘Instant’ in Instant Messaging

Making all of our communication instant, in text messages, emails, cell phone calls, and finally, instant messaging, has made us a society of expecting an answer right away. While sometimes this has made us more efficient, effective, and better communicators, it has also made us somewhat impatient.

If I see that a friend of mine is online, and their buddy name is marked as “Available”, I get irritated if I try to talk to them and ask them a question, and they don’t respond. This is probably the only communication medium where I feel this way. For text messages, emails, or phone calls, I don’t get antsy if I don’t get an immediate response.

I guess that is why it’s called ‘instant’ messaging- the status messages are there for a reason- so we can mark ourselves as ‘Busy’, ‘Away’, ‘Available’  or a short message of what we are doing in case people wish to contact us. This is definitely not something we can do with text, phone calls, or emails (unless we are gone for a long period of time and can set an email auto-responder).

A important rule of thumb is to utilize your status messages- if you cannot talk or respond, then set your status message as ‘Away’ or ‘Busy’ with a time of when you’ll be able to talk again (if possible).