Kenneth Rohde Christiansen

The life and feelings of an individual not like the most.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The advantages and disadvantages of IM services

I thought a bit more about IM services and whether it is generally better not to use or not. I have come to the conclusion that IM is very good for on/off conversations, but it doesn't really scale to real conversations - at least not with people you really care about.

Instant Messaging is good for
  • Arranging meetings
  • Just saying hi and quickly telling the latest news
  • Working on something together that requires internet access
So, why is this? Well, the first two points doesn't really require you to be 100% present - or at least just for a short period. The reason why I find that IM doesn't scale to real conversations is that you are always multitasking when you are at the computer. It is just so tempting to open a web browser the first second someone is not saying anything; to answer others on the chat, browse your music collection to find a nice song... etc.

I wondered why I don't get irritated when I talk over the phone and I came to the conclusion that I actually do sometimes! And this is when I am sitting close to the computer - I answer people on MSN, quickly check my e-mail, the news, etc and for a few seconds I don't pay attention and I end up getting irritated with the one I am talking to! and don't really feel like talking. This is exactly the same that happens with instant messaging - you are never there 100% for the one you are talking to, at least not for a longer time.

IM though, does have its advantages. If you are cooperating and need to study internet pages, read PDF's etc, it is great! You sent each other links or files and you both read quietly and answer/ask when you have time - without expecting an immediate answer. This works a lot better than two sitting at the same computer.

I guess the answer is that if you really want to talk to someone and have a nice conversation, then you should make a special IM account with only that person and try not doing other things at the same time. Actually, I wonder very much why the popular services don't have an option like: "Show as Offline to everybody except to the people I am currently having conversations with".

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why Instant Messaging is a bad substitute for being together

During the last month I have realized that instant messaging services are a bad solution to cure your longing for really being together. There are several reasons why I think so, but the biggest that it gives you a fake sense of intimacy.

The waiting part
When you really miss someone and know that the person occasionally is online, well then you are afraid of running past each others, which means that you spend a lot of time waiting for each others, just to be disappointed with the kind of contact provided by the instant messaging system.

When you are in love, you need a lot of intimacy, something that a IM service cannot provide. When you are at a computer it can be hard not surfing a bit while talking, not chatting to others if they start chatting to you, not checking your mail etc. This means that you are never really alone together, and thus not there 100% for each others. And so you get irritated with each others for almost no reason. When you are seldom at the internet, it becomes even harder not doing other things.

It also proves very hard to transfer feelings and interpret feelings correctly, which is a big part of the intimacy. Emoticons are just not refined enough and you can easily hide behind them, showing other feelings than you have; something that is harder to do with facial expressions.

Webcams help a bit, but you cannot tell if the other person is really looking at the camera or it is covered with another window (browser window, for instance), so it is not such a good solution either.

Final words
I saw Instant Messaging as an easy way to gain intimacy and share my daily life with my fiancé now that we are apart for some time. Instead we both realized that the supposely pleasant intimacy tends to get ruined, and that we have to find others way for gaining intimacy.

The Instant Messenger gives you a fake sense of intimacy, and when you realize that things are not the way you assume, you get sad, irritated, and start missing each others even more...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Google Personalized vs. Windows Live

Today, I checked out the new Windows Live website. It is not perfect but it actually works quite well. Many nice gadgets are available such a horoscope, a mail and a weather forecast gadget and more can be found on The layout is pretty relaxed to look at and less obstructive that the layout of the personalized Google start page.

Generally, I like the way the Google page works more, but the lack or gadgets and the ability to write your own gadgets for the Microsoft Windows Live, unfortunately makes the Microsoft page more usable for me at the moment. I hope that Google will make it possible to write your own gadgets and have more default gadgets such as horoscope, world clock, online buddies (Google Talk), tv-show reminder, calendar, etc.

Actually, I would really love Google to build a Google Calendar. I web-based calendar is something that I really need. If it could be made to work as well as GMail and my online friends can see parts of my calendar, they will really have a winner.

Lets see what Google's next move is...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Denmark, Malta and Switzerland; the most happy nations in the World

According to the following link, World Database of Happiness I come from one of the three most happy nations of the world =)

Unfortunately, I never really felt that happy there... makes you wonder :)