Am I the only one who doesn’t like instant messaging?

I’ve never been able to get into instant messaging. I’ve tried it. I’ve even probably had ten or twelve instant messaging “chats” over the past ten years or so. It just doesn’t appeal to me.

At my last job, almost everyone in the department was on instant messaging. I boycotted. I just didn’t see the point. And no one could say anything about it, either, since I got back to people’s emails within minutes, if not seconds, of their being sent.

For office communications, I prefer emails, because there’s less “How are you doing?” fluff. It gets down to business. It’s also easier for me to look through when I’m trying to figure out what we talked about. That’s how I stay organized—through my email. If I want to know what Staples order I asked you to put through for me last year, I look in my sent emails. If I want to know what the agenda was for our meeting in March, I look in my inbox. If I want to make sure a document doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, I send it as an attachment in an email. There’s no way in hell I’m going to sift through instant messaging chat logs.

And for personal life, I also prefer email, or the phone. I really don’t get the instant messaging for friends and acquaintances. If I don’t want to have an extended conversation but just want to ask a couple of questions, I’ll shoot off an email and get a response from you. If I want to talk to you for a long time, I’m going to pick up the phone and call you.

Obviously, I’m in the minority. Almost everyone I know between the ages of 20 and 35 instant messages. I just don’t dig the IM. Email me. Call me. Talk to me in person. I’m not going to chat with you, though. I’ll instant email you. How’s that?

Join the Conversation

17 Comments

  1. Not a big fan myself, particularly for workplace use. I suppose you could log all your IM transcripts, but that seems more cumbersome than having access to archives within the E-mail client.

    BTW – I think you’re missing an “I” from your post title.

  2. A.Y.

    No, you aren’t the only one. Just because someone invents something doesn’t mean it is a useful invention or that you have make of it.

    IM is the “pet rock” of the 21st century.

  3. I prefer talking in person over everything, but the reason I like instant messaging for personal use is precisely because it’s instant. I’d prefer phone calls, but not all my friends do, and some features of IM I appreciate, such as the chat rooms and the fact that I can hold multiple conversations

  4. I have several IM contacts, but they tend to only talk to me in a “let’s get to business” kind of way. I don’t start conversations frivolously; if we’re going to be doing something in person, it’s convenient.

  5. Haven’t seen a response that equals this one, so I’ll do it.
    I used to like it, meaning, when I was introduce to it, I liked it, it was about the age of 15 (10th grade) or something like that, being that the appeal was that we traded e-mails addresses as easily, or possibly even easier, than phone numbers, sometimes we shared phone numbers in an instant messaging conversation. I think it can get less personal, tons of teens get bored with their e-mail addresses and change it (never done it myself, I made an e-mail address with my name, and that’s it, if want to change e-mail addresses, it’s because I’m changing providers, like hotmail to gmail), in doing that, you can port only the contacts you still talk to, or you can simply block the ones you don’t want to talk to. In giving your phone number, that’s not such an easy option, added to the point that phone calls cost money, IM doesn’t, if your internet connection is a fixed monthly pay. Granted, your point of communicating through e-mail is still valid in this case, although instant messaging is more prone to chitchat, and you can just be ‘sitting there’, see someone logging in and think “oh, hey, let’s talk”, and sometimes conversations can last hours, and you are simply not paying extra on your phone bill, and talk about anything, interrupt when you want and come back when you want, with arguably more freedom (flexibility). Now, someone can make the point of VoIP, that is fine, but personally, if I’m in front of the PC, I’d prefer writing (in this case typing), if I want voice, phone calls feel more ‘comfortable’, for some reason.
    All that said (and it probably is somewhat lengthy, and possibly not all that grammatically correct and maybe somewhat confusing in terms of how ideas are organised), I stopped caring for instant messaging as high school approached it’s end (12th grade), the cellphone started being a more appealing way of communicating (being that text messages are free for the people I care to talk to, anyway), I can take it anywhere, and spend more time with my friends, mostly at a cafĂ©, and it simply feels a lot better, and yes, it really seems that the more people IM, the less human contact they get with some people.
    Again, all that said, I can still see how some form of IM can be appealing, meaning, talk to people you don’t really know (think tech support in IRC, or simply wanting to chat with someone with the same interests as you at high hours in the night, when it’s not really all that polite to call your friends and wake them up). On the other hand, it really seems to be some kind of ‘trend’, people who spend more time on the internet ‘doing nothing’ seem to be more attracted to IM in MSN, Yahoo!, AIM, and others, than other people who spend time on the internet learning, getting news, etc, I may be wrong, but I think that it’s the people that also like ‘social networking’ websites, that do IMing of that kind. I guess when you start seeing the internet for what it really can deliver (information, knowledge sharing), instead of what it delivers to your face (Facebook, Punch the monkey), you care for different things. I’m not saying one of them is better than the other, I’m just saying that it’s a choice that seems to have some consistency relating to surfing habits.

  6. I think my comment may have become lengthier than your whole post, sorry about that, got a little carried away, I guess

  7. I’m OK with instant messaging, as long as it doesn’t dissolve into spking in txt spk or stupid mistaks such as saying dat sumthin is kool.

    Something else that really gets on my nerves is the punctuation of every sentence with “omg lolz lol lolz !!!!!111111111111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and usernames surrounded by kisses (eg “-x_charley_x-“).

    I think that’s what puts many people off IM.

  8. I *generally* am not a big IM fan. The one, significant, exception is that my wife and I IM all day to one another while we’re at our respective offices.

    It lets us keep in touch and keep up-to-date with the day or the happenings on our various social listservs without having to constantly pick up the phone.

    It fits real well into the workday, letting us have a constant conversation without utterly keeping us from getting any work done.

    but in general, I don’t IM my friends. I email or call.

    FWIW, I jumped into email big when I started using it in my late 20s, but by the time IM started getting very common I was in my mid-30s, and I guess that those 7 or so years were enough for me to become a fuddy-duddy with new technology :)

  9. I think you’re right and wrong. I have friends that do not get to spend any time on the phone and a couple who live all the way in Taiwan. I’m from the U.S. I actually used to send emails really fast, but when you’re talking to several people or just talking to one person for a really long time, I’d rather use Instant Messaging. I still have normal conversations just like in an email or if I’m writing a paper. I hate it when people talk like they’re texting. So I don’t think Instant Messaging is a bad idea, but I understand how it can be used in excess, and a lot of the times it is easier to call. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.

  10. It seems like a time waster to me. I un-installed the work provided IM client Sametime Connect (through Lotus Notes) and found I had lots more time in the day. You don’t realize how much of your time is eaten up by that stuff until you ditch the habit!

  11. i think refusing to use it at work (or being able to) depends on what you do, what your position level is, abd how much your company tolerates people who aren’t early adopters of technology. where i work, just plain refusing would mark you as not tech-saavy, which is death in our shop, no matter how productive you are.

    Still, a lot of IM’ing seems like the kind of stuff we used to say around the water cooler or the copier. i don’t answer all my IM pings, i’d never get any work done.

    you’re right, tracking isn’t as good, but it will get better (there’s profit in it for IM software companies).
    before email became a regular part of the workday, i remember when higher-level managers would have their assistants print out their emails for them to read. i remember managers who refused to send out email notices of meetings, insisting on paper flyers. but then email got easier (and lots faster) and now all that sounds silly, doesn’t it? and those managers are long gone.

  12. I’m not a fan of IM myself, but in a stupid way it’s the only way I can reach people quickly when I can’t call or don’t have their numbers…

    Really, the biggest problem is facebook; at least with IM all I have to do is register an inbox I don’t have to touch at worst, or at best, simply create a small account that just records my email address as being a valid login. For facebook, I have to join this site that’s going to track me no matter what. And if I don’t join, well, there goes a whole bunch of possibilities. Because for some reason you can’t talk without facebook.

    What’s even sadder than this is between all my groups of friends, I’m probably the only one not on facebook, entirely for privacy reasons… and not because of people finding my photos, personally I’d just put “mspaint” images, you know poorly drawn bitmaps showing me doing things, but rather I’m afraid of “Beacon/Lighthouse”…

  13. Good point. I also hate instant messaging, it reduces productivity by having you constantly occupied with seeing who’s online or getting into pointless courtesy conversations.
    E-mail, as you said, is much better by getting to the point. In some cases, it’s also better than talking. My boss, for instance, is quite succinct in e-mails but runs around the bushes and gets way too off-topic when talking in person. Whenever I need to have a quick to-the-point conversation with her, I send her an e-mail.

  14. I hate I M. In fact, I hate cell phones. I don’t like being interrupted when I’m concentrating on something. If I’m concentrating, I’m getting things done, but if that is interrupted, it will take me a while to slide back into the groove. So no, you aren’t alone.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *