diamond geezer

 Sunday, November 11, 2012

I shall miss Messenger when it disappears. That's Windows Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger, the online conversational service. I've been chatting to folk through the medium of words ever since 1999 when Messenger kicked off. But Microsoft have announced that their protege will be retired from March next year and all users urged to switch over to Skype instead, which they also own.

What I liked about Messenger, and its Yahoo/AOL variants, was the "instant" part of instant messaging. A sentence typed at my end could be off to the other side of the planet and a response back in a matter of seconds. It became very easy to have a decent conversation without actually talking, which is the main reason I liked it. I'm not one for picking the phone up and actually ringing someone, so text based chat has been a godsend, even a lifeline, for keeping in touch with various acquaintances.

Email's not the same. You can write more, indeed writing more's encouraged, but then the whole chain of communication becomes slow and is anything but instant. Twitter's not the same. The whole conversation's public, and I don't know about you but I'm not happy to broadcast my private thoughts like that. Texting's not the same. Even though you can only send a few words there's still a relatively lengthy delay between each message, and attempting to have any sort of meaningful conversation can take ages. Ditto most of the other browser-based messaging services that have arisen more recently. Once you press send it'll be at least a couple of minutes before the page refreshes and any response returns, and you can waste hours of your life hanging around that way.

The advance of mobile technology is also helping to make instant messaging obsolete. I blame smaller devices. Even if you're good at typing or tapping on a mobile, it's not as quick as using a full-size keyboard. Whereas people used to be able to dash off a long comment now they tend to write considerably less and so conversation dumbs down. And I blame always-on wifi. You'd think people would be more available to chat these days, but instead it only looks that way because mobiles stay logged on even when their owners aren't looking at them. And I blame apps. Mobiles and tablets aren't designed for multi-tasking, so attempting to watch a film or play a game or read a map AND manage an online conversation is doomed to fail.

I'm missing Messenger already. There used to be dozens of people I knew on there, and now there aren't. Indeed there were years when I only had to log into the system and some friend would pop up for a conversation, maybe several. Not any more. Now I can log in and nobody says hello at all, and nobody's there if I want to say hello back.

Let me quantify that sense of disassociation. I've checked out the 141 online Messenger contacts I've accumulated over the last decade, and how long ago it is since they last signed into the service. And it's quite a long time.
Signed in...
At 9pm last night: 2In the last year: 24
In the last day: 5In the last two years: 10
In the last week: 11In the last three years: 21
In the last month: 14   Longer ago than that: 54
Some of these people I can still chat to in other ways, but most just blipped out one day never to return. Maybe they blocked me because I was boring. Maybe they gave up because the interface became flaky. But more than likely Messenger just fell off the list of their priorities, and with it so did I.

I don't expect you to have sympathy, especially when alternative platforms are available. I expect you to say "Pull yourself together Granddad and get with the programme". You're probably better at keeping in touch with people than I am, and/or more embracing of modern forms of communication. But I'm sorry that something simple and effective is being killed off (if indeed it wasn't semi-comatose already) as a company ditches its past to monetise its future. Rest assured I'll still be sitting here, but I may not speak to you soon.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream