Lauren Goode wants to bring back the age of presence indicators — like the AIM Away Messages — to give us all a break from the burden of synchronous communications.
I miss Away Messages. This nostalgia is layered in abstraction; I probably miss the newness of the internet of the 1990’s, and I also miss just being … away. But this is about Away Messages themselves. The bits of code that constructed Maginot Lines around our availability. An Away Message was a text box full of possibilities, a mini-MySpace profile or a Facebook status update years before either existed. It was also a boundary: An Away Message not only popped up as a response after someone IM’ed you, it was wholly visible to that person before they IM’ed you.
I really like the presence indicator, but I think, in terms of tech culture, we’ve moved past the barrier that “away” messages put up. People with whom I work ignore the presence indicator in Teams. It’s not unusual to have multiple people trying to message me, while my Teams message clearly says that I’m on the phone.
→ It’s Time To Bring Back The AIM Away Message | Wired