AIM key to happiness at College

My name is Julia Karoly, and I am an AIM user.

Let’s face it, if you don’t have AIM. . . you’re just not cool. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) serves as the crux, the anchor, the heart, the core of even a simple social existence at Williams College. At an institution where the classic line is “I’ve been busy,” how is one expected to stay in touch with all their buddies? Enter Steve Case, Williams Class of ’80, founder and CEO of America Online, the savior of my every day, my hero, my redeemer, my knight in shining armor, my. . . well let’s not get carried away here.

AIM. It’s free. It’s easy. You can keep in touch with everyone who is anyone. The flip side, though, is that it’s the most addicting thing ever invented. But who cares? It’s a harmless, healthy addiction. Furthermore, AIM is quite possibly the best flirting device out there. I’ve got game – no doubt about that – but you don’t even NEED game to flirt on AIM. You can look like crap, have just woken up, be in an indifferent mood, whatever – and your innocent crush has no idea. You’re hot as hell, and you know it; the only thing he sees is those pixels on his screen. What’s even better – I’ve talked on AIM butt naked. (Try it sometime, it’s liberating). I’ve talked on AIM with a bunch of people in the room, sitting and plotting our each and every response to some gullible kid. (Ever wanted to mess with someone? And I mean. . . MESS with someone?) AIM is the most fun toy since Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Now let’s talk about messages and profiles. I consider them an art. You can tell a lot about someone from his or her away message. Some people have witty ones, some people have funny ones, some people have inspiring ones and some people just tell us how they REALLY feel. Hey, we’re all brothers; these are all great away messages. But don’t get me wrong: Not EVERY away message is a great away message. Let’s get one thing straight. An away message that would NOT be acceptable in AIM’s generally accepted culture is: “shower” or “work” or “dinner” or “practice,” because honestly, that is just plain boring. Say it with me now, “Away messages are an art form. Away messages are an art form.” Okay, I hope that convinced all those non-believers out there. The worst is those people who list their day for you: “Busy day! Breakfast, class, lunch, class, practice, shower, dinner, work, library, paper.” A) Do I give a damn? NO. B) Am I going to follow you around to your activities? NO. C) Does anyone really derive any pleasure out of reading your utterly lackluster, undistinguished remark? NO.

Okay. Now that that’s settled, let’s all admit something together as an AIM community. We all check away messages. Constantly. You KNOW you do it, so stand up, be proud, and speak the following: “My name is [insert name here], and I am an away message-checker.” Yes, it may be hard. Yes, you may not want to admit it to yourself and your peers. But once you do, it is like a ton of weight being lifted off of your shoulders. So let’s sit around and hold hands and sing – kumbaya my lord, kumbaya – as we rise together as an AIM community. Okay, glad we’re all on the same page here. Checking away messages is the best form of procrastination around. As my good friend Lisa Haney ’03 (a fine procrastinator in her own right) acknowledges, “Next year, when I don’t have free Internet, how am I going to check away messages?”

Lisa, I feel your pain, I am with you there. You can cry on my shoulder next year. I’ll be here for you, buddy. But enough of this, it’s too emotionally draining for me. Suffice it to say that for us seniors, this is going to be devastating.

Lastly, there IS a distinction between a true AIM user and an AIM poser. Real users are on all the time, rain, shine, small bandwidth, large bandwidth, paper due tomorrow, no paper due tomorrow. (Side note: Quite frankly, I find it practically impossible to get my paper done without commiserating with all the other members of my class over AIM.) True users are aware of Mark Berman’s every move; they know before HE does when the network is down or slow. Posers are on occasionally. They don’t even have a profile. I’m not really sure what they think they are doing out there in the big, wide world of die-hard AIM users, where the environment has been already established.

I’m from the Jersey shore. If you wanna surf in a good spot, you’ve gotta make yourself a regular out there to prevent getting your butt kicked. Show up sporadically (poser), and you’ll never gain respect. The same is true about the AIM community. So get with it, posers. Sign on – and stay on. (Note: Being inactive is nothing to be ashamed of). So no excuses.

Long story short: If you don’t have AIM, GET IT NOW. If you do, WORK ON THOSE AWAY MESSAGES. We’ll all appreciate it and be in better moods because of it. And last but not least, lets IM away. It’s the most fun you’ve had at Williams since your first Log experience. It’s just that liberating.

And for us seniors, let’s make the most out of the endless opportunities that AIM affords us – before AIM D-Day occurs on June 8th. Live AIM. Breathe AIM. BE the little yellow man. And if you have any questions, I don’t know my phone extension. . . I don’t even know if that thing works. . .so IM me at purplecow03.

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