IM (MSN, AIM, Skype, etc) statuses no longer carry the same meaning that they are supposedly meant to carry. When your status is “Away” it typical states that you are away from your computer. However, it has become almost habitual for so many people to put themselves on “Away” or “Busy” because they simply don’t want to talk to (certain) people.

Assuming that I’m an average person, I probably only speak to 10% of my contact list on a regular basis. At one point, I had over 200 contacts with probably about 50% were never online, so I’ve got through and cleared a good number of them because I knew they were never online and I never spoke to them anyway. Add to that the number of people who have their IMs on startup and automatic sign-in, most of those people are signed in but are nowhere near their computers.

Anyway, back to my main point, what are the point of statuses now? If it’s to avoid talking to people, why go online? I would suggest because they want to be connectable, but not necessarily make the connection. It’s worse when you do want to connect with someone because you want to talk to them and they are on “Busy” or “Away”. What’s the protocol? Normally, out of politeness you wouldn’t send them a message unless it was urgent. However, these days, you can never tell. People go on “Busy” and “Away” for varying reasons and usually not because they are busy or away.

Person A: I wanted to talk to you about something last night on MSN.
Person B: I didn’t get any messages from you.
Person A: Well, you were on “Busy” so I didn’t want to disturb you.
Person B: You should have just sent me a message, I wasn’t doing anything, just listening to music.
Person A: But, what if you were busy and you didn’t want to be disturbed.
Person B: But I wasn’t!

I’ve had that conversation before. So, people, if you’re busy or away, then fine change your status. If not, why aren’t you online? There might be someone who actually wants to talk to you. If you don’t want to talk to certain people but want to talk to others, go Invisible/Appear Offline, that’s what it’s there for. Anyway, I’m busy, so I’m gonna get back to work.

Status: Busy (for real!)

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