Instant Messaging (IM) has caught on like wildfire, and a lot of the communication is via mobile. Whether it is good old Yahoo Messenger, Live,

Etiquette for Instant Messaging

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Instant Messaging (IM) has caught on like wildfire, and a lot of the communication is via mobile. Whether it is good old Yahoo Messenger, Live, Gtalk, WhatsApp or BlackBerry Messenger, people are now using instant messaging as an alternative to both voice and SMS.

Like in all areas of communication, etiquette is vital to having decent interactions with others.

One no-no in instant communications is using the buzz or ping feature to start a conversation. It is simply irritating at the least and is considered very rude by many.

If you want a contact’s attention, a simple “Hello” or “Good day” will do. If the contact is available, they will respond with a greeting, and then your conversation proceeds. If they don’t respond, show some consideration. They might be actually busy.

If not very intimate with a contact and you wish to make a joke of something, make use of the appropriate emoticons, so that your intent is clear to the other person.

Never forget that your contact cannot read your mood, facial expression or body language over IM. Use emoticons for the purpose of clarity.

Always take the pains to explain yourself. It is easy to be misunderstood when you’re trying to type out a quick message. What’s on your mind may not come out as you intended.

In all, stay civil and sensitive. Instant Messaging is great, but it can send wrong signals and mess up relationships (I’m using that word loosely here), be they social or business.

15 comments

  1. IM sure has been abused globally, but I suspect that Nigerians eat out a large chunk in this blame…bye-bye pagers,hello pinging! We could we say that poor social manners or the lack of it in individuals has been transported into the use of IM.

  2. I absolutely hate it when any contact of mine pings me. Frankly, it irritates me. Why not just go ahead and say what you have to have? I have sounded several warnings to my bbm contacts and the few that failed to heed my warning were promptly deleted, and I did not feel bad.

  3. all most all my contacts begin a conversation witha ping, to us its a way of saying replyif ure free ignore if busy. I for one am never annoyed by it and none of my friend has ever complained.

  4. Never assume someone is sitting by their phone waiting for you to send a message. It irritates me to no end when someone sends me a barrage of messages, and then sign out (bear in mind they’re all sent within a couple of minutes).

    Sometimes you have to step away from your phone to do something. If the person has gotten back to you before, they will again.

    And yes Eye.Bee.Kay, I agree with you on the capitals thing.

  5. …and STOP using UNNECESSARY ABBREVIATIONS. I hate those things with passion! Things like aiw(All is well), 5n(fine), h(hello) grate my nerves.

    Worse still, people’ll now go further to assault you with a heavy combo of these things, making me waste my precious time to start deciphering/decoding these serious abbre-cryptions. Its really a pain…

  6. @saiddigge:Yes, I agree with you on the Abbreviation Brou-haha. It’s already becoming a formal way of conversing with anyone around here via IM.It annoys me to the bone when someone addresses me using these so called abbreviations during chat or sms. Most students now make the silly mistake of applying these abbreviations at school while writing essays or letters thereby, getting them penalised.Words like… see – C, the – d, you – U, thank – 10k, what – wat, thing – tin, why – Y, etc are flagrant examples.If you ask them why they this way, they’ll say “it saves time and it’s much faster”. “Yes, it saves time!” I sometimes use it too (on twitter, and some other webpages)What’s the use writing these abbreviation when it doesn’t improve our vocabulary?I rather go through the stress of writing words in full than shortening them and limiting myself ignorantly.If you know you’re not literally good at spoken English (writing too), Please cultivate the habit of using Predictive Text (T9 Dictionary).The predictive text feature on our mobile devices comes in handy for such uses. It wasn’t added just to grace the capability of your device.

  7. @saiddigge:

    Yes, I agree with you on the Abbreviation Brou-haha. It’s already becoming a formal way of conversing with anyone around here via IM.

    It annoys me to the bone when someone addresses me using these so called abbreviations during chat or sms. Most students now make the silly mistake of applying these abbreviations at school while writing essays or letters thereby, getting them penalised.
    Words like… see – C, the – d, you – U, thank – 10k, what – wat, thing – tin, why – Y, etc are flagrant examples.

    If you ask them why they this way, they’ll say “it saves time and it’s much faster”.
    “Yes, it saves time!” I sometimes use it too (on twitter, and some other webpages)

    What’s the use writing these abbreviation when it doesn’t improve our vocabulary?

    I rather go through the stress of writing words in full than shortening them and limiting myself ignorantly.

    If you know you’re not literally good at spoken English (writing too), Please cultivate the habit of using Predictive Text (T9 Dictionary).

    The predictive text feature on our mobile devices comes in handy for such uses. It wasn’t added just to grace the capability of your device.

  8. @saiddigge and praizjosh, there’s always my brother’s method – delete it! If the person asks you about it, say you couldn’t make sense of it and thought it was spam 😀

    I can understand if someone is writing a long text, but if it’s short (mostly is) and an IM and you’re too lazy to write in full, don’t expect me to spend time deciphering it.

    The problem is that even when people aren’t limited by characters, they still use text-speak.

    “The predictive text feature on our mobile devices comes in handy for such uses. It wasn’t added just to grace the capability of your device.” Lol.

  9. Might be also good for BB users chatting with their non-BB using friends on whatsapp to know that most of those special characters they employ in bbm just appear as a coalitions of zeros or just meaningless lines on many of these non BB phones so they should limit their use to chatting on bbm. Sometimes I place words in context trying to decipher what the person has written which of course is quite annoying. After warning some contacts over and over and they wont listen now I just ignore any message appearing as codes. I’ve got better things to do with my time than deciphering meaningless codes. What’s so hard in typing in just plain text?

  10. The truth is, some people have tied their lives to mobile phones; especially BBs. so they believe everyone on their friends list should always be available for chat; even on a Monday morning.

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