When I signed up for DSL a few years ago, the installation disk put Instant Messenger on my computer. Since then, I've used it to keep in contact with my wife during the day. We exchange meaningful conversations like:
PT: I think I poisoned myself with that old bread
Mrs. B: Serves you right
PT: I think I might die
Mrs. B: The good times are over
Or we use it to discuss medical matters (she's a nurse at a clinic where I volunteer):
Mrs. B: I think this student has strep. should I do a rapid test?
Now that Fudge is in NY, I've found it to be an excellent way to keep up with her:
Fudge: ho abba
PT: Hey Pewo
Fudge: My roommates just went to a club and stayed out all night, but I decided to stay in and go to a nursing home instead
PT: Who is this really?
And I also have my other kids on my buddy list, so I can send them messages when they are at home on vacation:
PT: Larry, get off the computer and fold THAT LAUNDRY!!
Finally, I put my Israeli cousin Eli, who stayed with us last month, on my list too, so he sends me deep messages about what's going on in Israel:
PT: What do you think of the disengagement?
Eli: It's stupid
PT: Cool, thanks for the update
I've tried to avoid adding more names, because I already have windows popping up at me every few minutes and it makes it very difficult to work. However, I upgraded the Messenger last week, and as part of the process it scanned my email contacts and offered to add them. I reluctantly added a few names. In particular, there's a blogging buddy of mine with whom I've become relatively close and usually exchange a few emails a day (he can out himself in the comments if he wishes).
Now, this last addition has yielded some interesting side effects. Aside from the fact that we can now interrupt each other's work even more than before, I now seem to be able to 'spy' on him. I can tell when he gets to work. He can tell when I leave. It's a little freaky.
I'm trying to avoid clicking on him just to say hi. I'm sure he's got more important things to do, but I know he'd be polite and respond anyway. I have another friend to whom I haven't spoken in about 18 years who added me to his buddy list. I see him up there every day. So far, no contact. It's like walking into a room filled with people you know, each huddled over his or her desk working, and nobody is acknowledging that the others are there.
I think I've taken anti-social to a whole new level.