When its set to busy, i am honestly busy…

Ok so first up Tom Coats talks about the weird context shift of IM on mobile devices. and then Ben Hammersley replys with this. And I see what there saying, actually worst than that. I've actually been trying to deal with mobile IM for the last few months. See GPRS charges are getting low enough to be online in between work and home, so I am. However theres things which just dont work, for example.

Usually when I'm iming, I usually have to tell people i'm on my smartphone or ipaq otherwise they wonder why i'm taking so long to reply. Theres also a tendancy to write large chunks rather than tap tap bang tap tap bang, as im conversations up the screen tend to be a pain to scroll when trying to type at the same time. So I end up coming across really busy and distracted, when i'm actually just sitting on a train listening to podcasts. Saying all that, the opposite is also true. Specially when I'm on IM using my ipaq. I tend to turn off the screen and leave the ipaq on to walk, which means I'm on online but actually very busy or not able to talk right now. And just before I consider ways to solve this problem, one of the tricky problems is leaving im on while at a resturant or cafe. Its not as discreet as sms and a real pain in the ass for the other person trying to get hold of you, thinking your at your desk. At least with sms people expect you may not reply instantly. Its a social convention, for me at least…

Ok I'm sure i've been through this before, I use to think it was about presence management. But its not possible to do so without somekind of technological assistance. For example my smartphone has a nice profile called Automatic which automaticly sliences when your synced calendar says you have a busy meeting. Its simple and works. However i dont sync my phone nearly as much as I use to now I've switched to linux. Which leads me to wonder why my ipaq (which I do sync everyday) doesnt have a option like this?

Off the back of the last question, is it possible for the ipaq to send out a bluetooth message to all bonded devices to say Ian is now busy in a meeting? I know it wouldnt work for everyone because not everyone keeps there calendar up to date. But I bet you would if your mobile devices did something like that. I mean it cant be that hard to write something which switches profiles based on a bluetooth message? Saying that, with all the bluesnarfing attacks and closed api's on the windows mobile platform. It isnt going to work is it? Ok so lets forget bluetooth for a moment then. To get on im you need to be online, so why not some service which defaults your im client into a certain presence depending on your ical calendar? Hummm maybe… nahh…

Ben talks about the fact he's not usually online because people dont respect his presence. Well I'm using PSI which doesnt automaticly pop up a window, thank goodness. And I tend to have the same view of IM as I do for sms. Aka leave it till i'm ready to deal with it. I've been thinking how great it would be to tell if someone is really idle by the client following movement on the screen or something, but thats even more scary that anything else I've suggested. I've also been thinking about somekind of in-between solution. For example, I've got a bot called WeatherBot which tells me all the information I need without actually iming it. Maybe theres something in this? I've looked on the other networks and jabber seems to be the only one which does this, however theres lots of news about msn messeger 7 which is meant to copy yahoo's attention Buzz thing. Personally this is still too much, but shows theres grounds inbetween which can be explored. Oh by the way interesing blog about Jabber and Bots. I think maybe a jabber bot which is a conversation summariser would be difficult but damm useful. Thanks for the idea Miles (we were talking about something on top of aggregation for news).

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.