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AIM 101

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, April 22, 2004

Like everyone said I would, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge during my freshman year. I can tell you about economics, communism, the bun run, LaFun, T.C. and a far-off land called “the construction entrance of Loftus.” To be perfectly honest with you, though, the one field in which I could earn my doctorate – tomorrow, if I were offered the chance – would be AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

Eileen Duffy, PhD … away messages? It’s true. I am online often – whether I have a few minutes or five hours straight to spare. I can now recite friends’ profiles and often-used quotes (OAR’s “I feel home” sound familiar to anyone?), and, like others, I check away messages fairly obsessively. This is a leader in her field about to give you the sum total of her knowledge. Listen up.

First, if you STILL have that link “I can’t believe I found [insert screen name]’s picture here HAHAHA,” get it fixed. Immediately. Do you know how many trips to OIT (a.k.a. hell on earth) that you and your dirty virus have caused?

Going idle = cool. It means that you are so cool that you are out and about and don’t even care about AIM, or away messages or updated profiles … sigh. I have a friend in Boston who, along with her roommate, have begun using the term “idle” interchangeably with “cool.” For example, “Wow, that shirt is sooo idle!” Try it yourself!

When it comes to profiles, please don’t be soo idle (cool, that is) as to simply have “No Information Provided.” Your profile is a creative outlet! Song quotes are nice, but be sure to include a good variety, like an upbeat Jimmy Buffet and a poetic Paul Simon. One of my friends “John” simply rotates a series of particularly depressing Guster quotes on his away messages. Why John, why? That’s REALLY not idle.

Inside jokes are acceptable, but I generally like to make sure that they are understood by at least three people, to avoid exclusiveness. Featuring one of your friend’s quotes is a great compliment to him. And you? Well, once you’ve earned a place on another’s profile, you have reached the pinnacle of AIM wit and skill. Well done, you.

(One last note on profiles: if you are not yet aware of this, he who has a link to see his pictures can sometimes SEE YOUR SCREEN NAME ! A boy has checked my friend’s pictures 41 times. Please, for everyone’s sake, spread the word … and ease up on picture-viewing.)

When conversing, remember that AIM is not real life. Do not, under any circumstances, do any of the following online: a.) confess to a crush; b.) ask someone to an SYR; c.) propose; or d.) break up. You must learn the acronyms jk, lol, btw, brb and g2g. Don’t forget to sprinkle some icons in (little-known fact: the tiny smiley that looks like Barney in the Simpsons actually means “foot-in-mouth” … enlarge it to see the foot).

Follow these instructions, kids, and you’ll be the idlest cats around.