Declining Online Chats, Me or Them?

Years ago, I had a lot of online “buddies” on my buddy list, whether it’s for AIM, Yahoo, or MSN (I used Trillian to use all 3 service at the same time.) As the years gone by, the list has dwindled, and today there’s only 3 people I talk to on a regular basis. I’ve always wondered why; have I become anti-social online, or shied away from making new contacts?

It could be a number of factors, one of them being that I can’t stand the original, bloated interfaces for AIM, Yahoo Messenger, or MSN Messenger. All 3 suffer from feature-creep, use too much resources for such simple tasks, and sport terrible user interfaces. Which is why I used Trillian, until version 3 came out, and it suffered from a lot of the problems the other IM clients had. I ended up going back to version 2, which was minimalistic, easy to use, and use little resources.

Another reason is that I’ve discovered that a lot of people are willing to lie online, more so than if you were in person. I’ve had a number of friends and associates blocked and ignored because I found out things they had told me was a lie. I imagine a psychologist would have his hands full studying this phenomenon; there’s already research material on it already. Because it is harder to detect lies during textual interaction compared to face-to-face, and the consequences are less severe, people are as likely to lie than not. So there’s the lack of trust on my part with new friends.

The other reason is that most old friends have gotten busy as the years gone on, and I’ve changed my habits, so we see each other online less and less. Eventually we would just stop talking, and after 2 years, I’d remove them from my buddy list. There’s nothing wrong with this, we all have to live our lives.

If I did have a lot of friends online to talk to, I wish they’d all use Google Talk, which is my ideal instant messenger client. It’s simple, easy to use, uses little resources, and quality software. I’m sick of Trillian, AIM, Yahoo, and MSN Messenger, and anyone using the MySpace messenger should be shot on sight.

6 Responses to “Declining Online Chats, Me or Them?”

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  1. how about GAIM?
    Let’s take a look at all the benefits:
    Open-Source (it’s free for ever, wiiiiiii)
    easy to incorporate all the other IM’s
    constantly being developed
    no BS with extra plugins unless you install them yourself

    The only issue is that those huge MSN smileys are not being cached, so if you talk to someone who uses them a lot, they have to load each time.

    I didn’t know there was a myspace messenger, maybe it could be incorporated into gaim as well.

  2. I used GAIM for a bit, then they updated it and it broke it for a whole week. I ended up switching to Miranda, used that for a bit, but Miranda’s interface was too retro for me. I may try GAIM again if it is stable again.

  3. Cindy

    Matt – I suffer the same fate in regards to my buddy list. I used to marvel at the numbers clicking up when I added a new person to my list.. But as with anything else, you just cycle through. You see a name on your Buddy List and for one reason or another you wonder what that person is doing, where they went, and why you haven’t seen them on line in so long. Or perhaps they are on line, but they have graduated themselves to the realms of “online invisibility” and only let you see that they’re on line when they want to be seen. (shrug)

    For me, it’s that most of the people that I used to chat with have simply lost their novelty. I am no longer amused by their conversation, and for that matter, I am no longer amused by on line chatting as a whole. I traded in my days of carpel tunnel syndrome for sitting in a garage in Texas, surrounded by a few good friends and neighbors, listening to some great music and engaging in a real life chat room.

    Chat rooms form their own cliques and it’s too much effort for me these days to try to break down that barrier and prove to other “names on a screen” that I am worth conversing with. I rather enjoy my reduced fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, high in fiber buddy list now. The names that remain on their are tried and true and I know that months can go by without seeing or even talking to those people, but when I do, it’s like getting a phone call from someone you haven’t talked to in a while. You listen to what’s been going on in their life, and share your news and you have an honest to goodness friendly conversation. No bullshit, no snert like activity, no barriers to break down. Just open acceptance of who you are, and genuine care about how you’ve been.

    I appreciate those conversations, and I appreciate those friends. I have met numerous folks on line. You being just one of them. But of all those that I met, the few that I still remain in contact with, are on a list of folks whom I hold in high regard, and cherish deeply.

    I’ve had months of internet and months with out. But I can tell you this with the utmost in certainty and truth. For all the dry spells of no internet connection that I have endured, the day, nay the instant that I was once again connected to this here glorious internet, you were always placed on whatever buddy list was provided by said ISP and you have always remained there, as I hope you will stay on my list for years to come.

  4. Cindy: You’re always on my buddy list. Who else do I turn to when I have computer problems? :P

  5. Cindy

    Exactly. I taught you everything you know. ;)

  6. It’s not just messenger type programs. The general number of people hitting forums seems to have dwindled as well.

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