What part of “Away” do people not understand on IM?

Honestly, it’s something I just don’t understand.  Picture this, I get back to my computer and have an IM session highlighted.  Here’s the (1-way) dialogue:


Hey! You there?

{Important or seemingly important chatter goes here}

I know it says your away, but thought I would try 🙂

Let me know, ok?

{blah blah blah}

What do I do?  I delete it.  Why?  Because I don’t want to encourage this really really bad habit some people have, of using IM like it’s a sticky note.  Send an email for crying out loud. 

The worse offenders are at work.  Many of my colleagues have gone to exiting their IM apps entirely when they aren’t available, and especially in meetings where they are presenting.  Oh, the tales I’ve heard of everything from grocery requests to ill-timed booty calls being displayed to an audience.  That bites.

I’ve tried to rationalize people’s thought pattern here, but frankly come up empty.  Sending an IM to someone who’s status shows “Away” is like talking through a closed door.  Actually, the door is closed, the porch light is off and there is a stack of newspapers at your feet.  Seriously.  Who does that in the real world?  “Busy” is kinda iffy too – you have to ask yourself if what you’re about to message is really that critical or can’t be delivered via email.

Great.  Now, no one will IM me.  Look, I love IM.  Just don’t send me one if I’m “Away”.  Yes, sometimes I am there.  But I don’t want to  chat.  Send me an email ok?