IM = Social Rudeness

I hate instant messengers these days. The reason I hate them is because people don’t have any courtesy when they use them. They think that because it’s just a form of online social networking that they don’t have to use the common courtesy that they use with people with whom they are speaking face to face. Here’s some of the stuff that’s been nagging me lately about IMs:

Scenario 1: You see a friend online on your IM. You send them a HI. They respond and you start talking. Then your friend just stops answering you. After 10 or 15 minutes go by, you wonder if they are on the phone or working or something. However, an hour or more goes by and you notice that the person still shows as online, yet you never once got an explanation from them for why they stopped talking to you.

Scenario 2: You see someone online. They do not have a busy message up. You send them a message and they snap back at you, telling you that they are busy.

Scenario 3: Someone sees you online. They send you a message. You talk for a few minutes and then they just stop, like in #1 above.

Scenario 4: Someone IMs you as soon as you come on, to ask you about someone else. No, how are you? No, are you busy? No anything. Just blurting out what they want, getting the answer and then, without a thank you, they stop talking to you.

There are a lot more scenarios. Those are just the top ones that several people have been perpetrating in my world lately. I know that IM software is buggy. Sometimes it shows people online when they are gone. I give people the benefit of the doubt… until those scenarios become regular occurrences.

So here’s the thing. Why is it that people feel it’s okay to be rude, because you’re talking to someone online and not on the phone or in person? In this age of technology, those scenarios up there are just as rude as hanging up on someone. Why do so many people not get that?

At any rate, here’s what I’d like to see the perpetrators of those scenarios do so that they stop pissing off me and others:

  • If you don’t want to talk to all the people on your IM list, make yourself invisible to the ones you DON’T want to speak to. Then, if they are courteous, they will not IM you.
  • If you do start talking to someone but become distracted by other IMs or Tweets, tell the person you gotta go, you are talking to someone else and you just can’t concentrate on all the convos. I don’t get pissed when people say this to me. I prefer to know that they’re busy with someone else rather than they can’t be bothered to tell me they don’t wanna talk to me anymore.
  • Start your IM convo by asking how the person is. If they are busy… this lets them know that you will not take offense if they don’t have time for you, and shows them that you aren’t just some rude SOB who lives in an egocentric world.
  • Use your busy or away message if you busy and/or away. Don’t just snap at people because YOU didn’t put up an alert or warning.
  • When you IM someone, and start a convo, don’t just stop talking because someone or something else is more interesting or more urgent. If you started the convo and you can’t continue it, then you need to end the convo. Tell the other person you have to go.
  • Don’t forget the common courtesy that was instilled in you as a child. The people online are just as real as the people you see every day face to face. They have feelings and they deserve to be treated with the same level of courtesy as any other person.

All of us have been the victim and the perpetrator in these instances I’ve depicted. I’ve started becoming more aware of how I treat others online because of the way I’ve been treated by a handful of people whom I thought – knew – were my friends. We all need to realize too that just because someone is your friend doesn’t mean they understand what is going on with you and isn’t hurt when you treat them rudely in IM.

I’m not sure how to solve these issues. I’m probably going to have to bite the bullet and send an email to all the perps because they don’t read my blog. I wanna be nice about it, but at the same time, it’s hard because I’m disappointed in their behavior. I don’t want people to be mad at me, but I also don’t want to feel bad when I speak to them in IM and they just don’t show me any courtesy. Obviously, it’s something that has to be tailored to each friend in an individual way, but I don’t like having to do it. I wish I could just understand how people can get like this. It reminds me of how people drop all their friends when they have a new love interest. It’s rude, and hurtful.

Ok, I’m stepping down from the soapbox. Do you have an IM or Twitter pet peeve? Something that common courtesy would resolve? Feel free to rant about it in comments.

Have happy social media Sunday!