1. composing away messages?
2. reading other people’s away messages?
I think #2 probably has a lot to do with #1 since I feel that if I put a certain amount of effort into my away messages, I should see exactly how carried away I’m getting. But why do we all come up with such elaborate ways to say that we’re elsewhere? Some people put up a simple “zzzzzzz” for sleep, yet others leave a message approximately the length of War and Peace to tell the universe that they will not be at their computer due to REM cycles.
It’s kind of odd how away messages can become a tracking device. You can tell people where you are, where you are not, where you could possibly be, everywhere you will be within the next eighteen hours, or just leave some sort of cryptic message just saying “out.” But why are we compelled to provide what is, in essence, a stalking tool to the universe?
Mostly, I think I do it because I’m interested by what people have to say. I keep people on my buddy list that I haven’t talked to in years, but generally only ones that are either a) never online and thus I never get around to deleting them or b) put up really amusing away messages, causing me to keep them up on my list just for shits and giggles, even though I never talk to them.
And why do we get vaguely frustrated by the lack of effort when someone puts up the generic “I am away from my computer right now” message? Does the lack of effort on the part of the poster angry that they don’t put in the effort we do, or does it make us wonder if our own effort is simply wasted?
Or is that just me?