I’ll admit it–I don’t chat a lot, but I open Gtalk and watch people’s chat statuses when I’m writing.
I judge my permanently-available friends (green) and mobile (little phone), feel annoyed at my friends who idle (orange), and think my offline friends are antisocial assholes or technologically inept (gray).
I know that’s not fair. I mean, I’m that jerk who’s always busy (red), even when I’m just staring at my Gtalk screen.
Psychology Today‘s Dave Levitan (@davelevitan) has a post about what each chat status actually says about us–according to a media expert and director of the Media Psychology Research Center, Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D.
Prepare yourselves to be labeled, sweet minions of teh inyterwebz:
“This is an extrovert who feels that he always needs to be available,” explains Rutledge. “It’s someone who is too much of a caretaker, or someone who is narcissistic and assumes you always want to see him.”
Idle/Orange (Even When at the Computer):
“It might mean that she’s feeling like she wants to have a little bit of protection from the exposure, which is a normal human thing,” says Rutledge. “It might mean that she’s a bit more introverted than extroverted.”
“That’s one way of call screening,” Rutledge tells us. “Or, call that person an introvert, because he wants to have the option of not responding. He’s protecting his own boundaries; maybe he’s working or doing something where he doesn’t want to be interrupted, but he’s not missing from the face of the earth.”
“This is like stalking, but it’s a level of stalking that isn’t negative,” says Rutledge. “It’s a technologically advanced and effective way of eavesdropping.” But she is quick to point out that messaging someone while in appear offline mode is a hostile response. That behavior allows them to reach you but disables you from responding, thereby robbing you of communication. “If that is someone’s standard operating procedure, it’s a power trip,” she says.
The post doesn’t address people who are on Gtalk mobile. What do you think that says about someone that they’re always connected, even when they’re not at their computers?