I feel like a good 40 percent of my direct contact with human beings comes via GChat (or, as I hope everyone starts calling it, “Geech”). It presents its own challenges, one of which is typified by the exchange I just had with a professional contact:
Me: love you
that was to my boyfriend
geech is a tricky mistress
Caitlin: sorry, was talking to my boss about a book he’s pitching
I don’t mind a misplaced love you here and there on the geech
So. There seems to be no standardized Geech etiquette norms, although I would propose the following:
- Green status always means you are available to talk. Red means you are available to talk to the people you like and have well-established GChat camraderie with. Otherwise, red folks get a cautious, “Hey, do you have a second?” If you are actually busy, go invisible.
- Don’t ignore messages. A curt “Sorry, can’t talk!” is perfectly acceptable. This can be deployed infinite times until this would-be chatter takes the hint.
- Long pauses are par for the course, as much gchatting happens at work. But it’s great if you can type “Phone call, back in 20” or whatever.
- If you have to leave the conversation during someone else’s long pause, just say, “Hey, I had to go. Bye!” rather than just signing off.
- I, personally, do not think that capitalization is necessary. I also think that you are allowed to use really embarrassing words like “totes” if you want. This is the Wild West of interpersonal communication!
- All conversations should, in fact, be closed. Doesn’t have to drag out; a simple, “Have to run. Bye!” and then 45-second pause for reply is more than sufficient.
- This has NOTHING to do with etiquette but it feels important. If you type this: V.v.V then it turns into a little crab! Geech, I loved you anyway but oh my God.
What am I missing?