It seems funny (at least, to me) that long after the heyday of msn and other popular instant messaging platforms that I have to say this, but because people still seem to not understand, I do have to say it.
In terms of instant messages, I do not hold anyone to any expectation, when it comes to having a conversation with me. I could care less if you use texting shorthand (LOL, LMAO, TTYL), do not use proper spelling or grammatical structure, or anything like that. I try and make my text look good (the way you see it here) all the time (even in instant and text messages), but that is just a personal preference. Actually, its more an automatic reflex then a personal preference.
What is important to me, is that I can easily read and comprehend the information being conveyed to me. That is it.
I will touch on one obvious limitation of instant messaging, text messaging, email and pretty much any other form of non-verbal communication. Facial expressions and verbal tones (for example, not spoken indications of sarcasm) do not transmit well over text-only mediums. So do us all a favor, and don’t beat around the bush. It will save a WHOLE lot of misunderstanding (which could give rise to potential unnecessary animosity) in the future.
But my most important personal “rule” of thumb when it comes to instant messaging, is that the usage of it should be sparing, alike how one uses the telephone.
I use facebook quite often during the day for different reasons. Sometimes its to randomly browse my news feed, sometimes to reply to a notification from some thread in a group or on a profile, or sometimes just to share something interesting I found online (usually a youtube video). And usually I am doing this from iOS (iPhone).
It seems that facebook switches your status to “online” for friends every time you even momentarily click the app open (even by accident!). Which should not be a problem normally. But it is, when there are people (or even just one person) that insists on initiating a conversation EVERY TIME you come online. Which is normally just a minor annoyance.
But it becomes a bigger (COMPLETELY unnecessary) issue, if in later physical social interactions, the person makes a comment that is something akin to “What, do you not want to talk to me anymore?”. Which puts you in a completely STUPID position. Because the answer is , no. I do not mind talking to you. BUT NOT EVERY TIME I POP ONLINE EVEN FOR A MILLISECOND!
Back in the days of MSN domination, most people just utilized these services from computers. Which meant that, though these conversations could be annoying, it was still possible to easily multi-task AND converse. However, if you are on at least iOS devices, every single program (including the facebook app) is stand alone. Even facebook is stand alone from the facebook CHAT application.
If I am in the middle of a youtube video of some sort, these chats become a real nuisance.
Sure, I could simply disable chat. But I like keeping that avenue of communication open, for others to utilize.
It seems almost hilarious in my mind, me typing this. SUCH a #firstworldproblem. And yet it should be said.
Just because a telephone has unlimited usage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, does not mean that you should be calling every single person on your contact list 3 times an hour, just because you can. So treat IM’ in the same manor. Otherwise you may find your contact list, quite silent.
Truth be told, I do not have much to add here. My standards are more or less the same as with any other form of communication. Be comprehensible.
But one thing I will say is, take into account that people have things to do in real life, when waiting for a reply to a text. Unlike an instant message (where it is easy to tell when someone is online or not), a mobile phone may sit untouched in a locker or office for 8 hours, as the person works, is in school (whatever!). When I am at work, I may check the time, but I do not check messages until breaks or until after work (sometimes I even go 8 hours without checking messages).
So if you start making a big deal when people don’t respond to your text the INSTANT it arrives, be prepared to look like an idiot, and have even fewer responses to your texts.