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12-Sep-2020 20:53

Rather than simply being an inferior way of communicating, I’d like to point out some specific advantages of IM communication which may or may not be obvious. In the old days, ICQ used to give you little text boxes into which you typed a message, which would be sent off and disappear from your screen. When your online conversation partner gives you shit about something you supposedly have said, of which you are sure you haven’t, all you have to do is locate the appropriate logfile and present him or her with the cold hard evidence.

Then, if your conversation partner was online and replied to you, you’d see a blinking message next to his/her name in the ICQ interface, which would spawn a popup upon doubleclicking with his/her reply. Misunderstandings and potential causes of festering feuds are avoided with some deft use of the standard search functions (ctrl f) present in every chat history browser.

It was cumbersome, a kind of popup email, but new and fun, and ICQ featured a message history. Furthermore, having on-screen reference to recently written lines helps along the communication in several ways.

A bit later MSN got mainstream, and (quite revolutionary) allowed recently sent and received messages to be displayed in a single chatbox. It makes it more easier to address the things someone else has said earlier because no part of the conversation obfuscates another part, whereas in a linear sequence of spoken words earlier things said are prone to slip from your memory even though you wanted to comment on them.

Quickfire swiping often becomes the name of the game, as snap decision after snap decision often falls down to your potential future soulmate’s profile pic of choice.

One new dating app is hoping to change all that though, by simply not showing you the profile pic of your potential matches.

Having your mind elsewhere is considered disrespectful or offensive – we all know the examples of a wife talking to her husband “Have you done the dishes?

Of course there’s the possibility that you’ll put time and effort into building a connection with someone that you just don’t fancy, but hey, maybe you’ll make a friend. You can learn more about Taffy and download it for yourself here.

About Pepijn Uitterhoeve I'm Pepijn, a veteran Utopia player (and gamer in general).

What these locations and situations have in common is that the people involved are unlikely to have an internet terminal standby to look up extra information regarding a conversation topic.

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In face to face conversations, you can claim things like the earth being spherical, WTC 7 being brought down in a controlled demolition or Scarlett Johansen having an awful taste in gala dresses but you will generally have trouble summoning evidence supporting these assertions. You can also get into frustrating situations like being unable to recall the name of a song even though you know a string of lyrics from it, or having forgotten the name of that action film with Nicolas Cage in some prison airplane. Not necessarily due to its innate features (though during trillian chat certain words can be highlighted showing an excerpt from a wikipedia entry) but because instant messaging generally happens online, unless you’re chatting on a closed off intranet, which is just plain stupid.

So sending ‘Hi, how’s it going’ ten times ain’t gonna cut it, I’m afraid.