Four Basic Rules To Proper Instant Messenger Etiquette

Instant messaging has risen in popularity with the boom of the internet industry. It is indeed a reliable and cost-efficient way to communicate with friends as compared to making phone calls or send text messages.

The exponential growth of the internet messaging system has sadly led several users to abuse its use. The sense of immediacy has created this illusion of casual communication such that one completely neglects all forms of ethical concern when communicating via IM. If you are one of those who frequently use internet messaging devices such as Yahoo! Messenger, AOL, or Skype, here are some basic guidelines to proper etiquette when using IM for communication purposes.

Understand IM Limits

Again, the immediacy and the casual sense of communication that the IM environment creates establish this idea amongst IM users that everyone is willing to chat with anyone. However, this is a common myth that one must realize isn't true. If you have free time and would be willing to spend 30 minutes each day chatting with your online friends, then you need to understand that not everyone has that luxury. When you start a conversation with someone and they do not respond quickly, avoid buzzing them. They could be busy doing other works, or they might not even be in front of the computer!

Therefore, try to be more sensitive with your IM sessions. Learn to understand what others' priorities are. And even when you are free to chat online, you have to understand that these friends of yours probably aren't. You have to be specially sensitive when chatting with someone who is at the office as it could have serious repercussions at work.

Crosstalk is a Major No-No

During to the casual nature of instant messaging, it is a common practice for IM users to respond or engage in more than one conversations at the same time. During this conversation, you have ideas that you want to share to your 'friend' but your fingers are not as quick to type them in as these thoughts arise. Hence, a common practice among online users would be to chop up their sentences such that they appear on your chat box as phrases.

A tendency for most users would be to readily assume or conclude what they see appear on the box without being aware of what the rest of the statement is about. Hence, several friends end up arguing due to miscommunication during online chat. Hence, you must avoid sending out potentially offending statements, especially if you are unsure about how the other person would respond.

Be Careful When Chatting with Strangers on IM

IM accounts are often public, thus giving strangers the opportunity to send you messages on the spot. Just as you would when handing out e-mail addresses, you need to be extra careful when responding to complete strangers. However, do not readily assume that they have bad intentions or trying to spam you. If a stranger starts a conversation, politely ask them what their intent is. And if they do respond politely, carry on with the conversation in a polite manner.

But if they start to flood you with messages and begin sending out offensive comments, there is a Report Spam or Block option in most IM windows that you can use to prevent them from sending future IM messages to your account.

Read and Respect IM Status

This is the most basic IM etiquette that most users fail to practice. When another user indicated Busy or DND on their IM profiles, you need to respect that. It simply indicates that they do not want to be disturbed with impromptu IM chat sessions. In some cases, others would post a custom status message, saying Busy but you can leave a message, then you can certainly drop them a quick message. However, do this only when you have something really important to say.

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