What to do if you see me on GChat…
Heads up, this content is 13 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Two different people just asked me about this in the last five minutes, so it seems worth writing out.  And then I can link to this post in my GChat status message! Shortcut!

Here’s the scenario: Through the luck of the emailing, you’ve scored my secret gmail address, and I’m showing up in your chat list.  You’ve already noticed two things:

  1. I seem to be there all the time. Like, 24/7. Like, why the heck doesn’t this Dopp ever sleep?
  2. I am always, always, without exception marked Busy. Red. Unavailable. “Warning warning, saying hi is rude right now!”  Etc. Never green.

There are good explanations for this.

Why are you always there?

I have a Google Android-based cell phone that gets Gtalk.  So as long as my cellphone is on, I’m pokeable.  (Note that if you send me a chat message when my computer is off, I’ll get it on my phone, it will feel like a text message to me. Our communication paradigm will have shifted, and you won’t have any way of knowing. *cue scary music*)

Why are you always busy?

BECAUSE I’M ALWAYS BUSY!  I usually have at least 10 projects going at once, and if I’m at my computer, I’m probably working on one of them. The Internet is my office, and my business hours are Whenever I’m Awake. If you want to hang out with me when I’m taking a break, you need to come meet me at Dolores Park in San Francisco. I’ll be the one stretching, wandering around, enjoying the sun, and not looking at my phone or computer.

So… can I gchat with you?

Sure!  (Maybe.)  Here’s what I’d love:

If you’re working with me on something, you can always send me a message. It’s a good way to get a quick answer from me. If I’m there, I’ll respond.  If I don’t respond, please send me an email.  (Gchat messages are known for getting lost.)

If you’re not working with me on something, please don’t open with “hi” or “hey” or “what’s up?” and wait for me to respond. I probably won’t. Just start with the thing you want to talk about. (And if I don’t respond, follow up over email.)

If you don’t have anything in particular you want to talk about, but you want to talk to me, please ask me if we can get coffee sometime.  Don’t try to catch up with me over gchat.

If you have something funny or interesting you want to send me, go ahead and just gchat me the link.  I may or may not be able to look at it, and I probably won’t have much time to talk about it, but I’ll appreciate the thought.

I know, I know, this is me being weird again.  First I don’t answer my phone, and now this.

But think of it this way: at least I’m reachable.  Remember when I shut down IM completely for four years?  You hated that.  This is my compromise.

Love you,

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2 Responses to “What to do if you see me on GChat…”

  1. whittles Says:

    That’s pretty much exactly my MO. Makes total sense to me.

  2. musingvirtual Says:

    You might want to point out to people that there’s a friendly little Google Labs feature they can use to tell if you’re online from your phone or computer. :-)