The advantages and disadvantages of IM services
Instant Messaging is good for
- Arranging meetings
- Just saying hi and quickly telling the latest news
- Working on something together that requires internet access
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".