Internetiquette: The Chat

There's a post that I really need to write, but I'm waiting for a critical picture before I wrote the post. And unfortunately, that critical picture is currently trapped on my friend's non-working digital camera.

So instead, I'll post about something that is immediately pressing, which is Internetiquette. The Internet has introduced a whole slew of problems involving etiquette, and I'd like to address just one today:

To Chat or Not to Chat

A while ago, a casual friend invited me to be a Google chat contact. Not thinking it through all the way, I accepted. Then for the next several months, I'd see her come online again and again and again, even though we never actually chatted. When we needed to correspond, we simply did it by email.

Recently she got married and created a new Gmail account for her married name. She sent out an email to announce the change and then I noticed that I had received a chat invitation.

I really didn't want to be rude, but at the same time, I didn't want to clutter my google talk contacts with someone I wouldn't necessarily chat with often, or ever. So after speculation with Nat about what happens when you reject someone's chat invitation (do they receive notification of rejection, or do they receive no indication that you've rejected them?), I finally decided to take the risk and reject her invitation.

Today, I got this email:

Hey missy,
I got a new email address and invited you to chat but it says you haven't responded yet. Don't you want to accept? :)

I suppose I could have lied and made something up about how I haven't been around my computer lately or something, but instead I decided to be honest. I replied:

Oh man, you caught me. I just decided to shrink down my chatting pool by only having google chat contacts that I actually chat with on a regular basis. It's nothing personal at all, but when I got the invite, I wondered if we ever really would have a need to chat. Normally when you and I correspond, we just do it by email, which works fine. This way, when I'm working, I don't have unnecessary pop-up notifications of who's online and who's not. I hope that's not socially offensive. It's just practical.

I still haven't received a response from her (if only I had accepted her chat invite, I would have the benefit of immediate feedback, but if I had accepted her chat invite, I wouldn't be in this situation anyway). I really do like her as a person, but I just don't feel that we're close enough to be Google Talk contacts.

Anyway, I hope that Internetiquette doesn't require you to accept all and reject none. If that's the case, then I am an uptight b!tch.


Nemesis said...

Am now feeling all smug about myself because I'm on your chat list. And I think you're right--if you don't chat then what's the point of having one more name on the list?

Now maybe you should address the etiquette of blogrolls, and if it's possible to take people's names off without looking like, well, you know . . .

Sakhmet said...

Do we need to make YOU a tee-shirt?

Noelle F. said...

Google talk. I wonder if it's a thing that only COOL Utah people use? :)

Everyone I know (at school) still uses AIM.


Squirrel Boy said...

You can be so purple sometimes, Cicada.

Rachel said...

Hahaha! Well, I usually think honesty is the best policy. At least you have it out on the table.

Nicholas said...

I respect your honesty. The other approach to the problem that works (for people who avoid confrontation at all costs) is to accept an unwanted invite, and then under your own preferences hide the persons name from your view. They are none the wiser, and you have less annoying pop-ups, and you have one more way to avoid unnecessary assertiveness ... And don't be surprised if you get a google chat invite from me soon.

The Holyoaks said...

I'm glad I'm not the uptight b!tch.

C. said...

of course, to save the awkwardness of the moment in the future, you could accept his/her invite, but then change their status to "never show in contacts" so that they just aren't on the list. that's what i do with all the people that have invited me but i never talk to.

Saule Cogneur said...

Yeah, she was probably offended, but so what? She'll get over it. And hooray for you for being honest. The world needs it more than large gmail chat lists.

Cicada said...

Update: She totally wasn't offended at all, actually. She emailed me back an hour later to say that it was no problem.