Thursday, May 14, 2009


Instant messaging is great. People often don't respond to email or check it regularly, but like a phone call IM is more interactive without the commitment level of a phone call. There are other enhancements like voice, video, and file transfer - but for me the most valuable feature is presence information (you listening to me out-of-office notification).

Here's the problem though - one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. How hard is it to just set an auto-away on your IM client. If you walk away from the computer it sets you to away when you are... yeah, away. People do not do this, they end up being always available, thus the creation of a new protocol... the YT protocol.

Once one person starts doing yt? everyone starts. It spreads like an infectious disease - or like that idiotic habit of flipping up your wind shield wipers at the slightest threat of a flurry. This renders the great presence information in IM nearly useless. For those fortunate enough to have an immunity to this disease, it stands for "you there?". I can understand abbreviating long phrases, like bbiab or lmfao - but really, you can't type out "you there?".

I have a new group in my IM clients now called Broken. Anyone who types yt to me in an IM session is instantly moved to this list which will always remain collapsed. I wish all IM protocols had the "warn" feature that AIM has and I had a script to automatically warn them as a slight scarlet letter for those bad apples. I encourage everyone to pay it forward by blocking or hiding all buddies that choose to spread this. Thank you.