Tagged: im

A tale of status messages


It is fascinating how communication evolves. For such a long time, we stuck with email and there was hardly any innovation. Then twitter and friends happened with iPhone and other smart devices acting as a timely catalyst. The past year has seen an explosion in “micro” communication: twitter, micro blogging, tumblogs and the like.

Recently I have become aware of yet another such medium. I think it has always been around, but I feel only recently is it starting to shape up as a real communication channel. Yes my friends, I’m talking about status messages. From your gTalk status message to your Facebook status message — we now pay a lot more attention to them than we used to.

And it’s not just that I have started noticing them. When we travel, instead of sending out an email or setting up vacation replies, we update our status messages. If you are like me and leave your messenger on almost all the time, you get into a habit of noticing people’s status message. During the wild fires, a lot of people just communicated their well being and other updates via their status messages. Status messages can also be used to flaunt and impress. In fact, I have actually seen folks putting in that little extra effort to come up with “creative” or attention grabbing messages.

The fact that it is a one way, broadcast, asynchronous medium helps a lot. You don’t need to announce anything to anyone. You don’t have to wait for anyone to reply to you. You don’t even need to face the fear that no one might be interested in what you have to say. For many people, it acts as a light weight vent to let out their feelings and emotions, without the baggage of actually having a face to face conversation with anyone.

You know what would be cool? If gTalk or Facebook or my desktop IM client just keeps a history/timeline of my status messages. I think it will be a very different way of looking at our daily lives. What do you think?


Just found [[http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/11/status-update-f.html|this story]] on Wired. I had no idea that the mandatory “is” in Facebook status messages was such a huge deal!