Oh instant messaging

All the stand alone instant messaging apps seem to have faded away. The ones with specific user names that were not based on phone numbers. On my Windows 10 Corsair Cube computer right now no instant messaging application is installed. Initially, the only messaging was done either through email (which was very formal and tiresome) or online messaging boards. Bulletin boards used to be a major place for dialogue. Today I was very seriously considering spending the entire day writing a history of the rise and fall of the instant messaging market. A ton of those already exist online. Mine would not add anything to that discussion at this point and that told me writing that history was not a useful exercise. Even a brief history will be enough to explain where I was trying to go based on the argument at hand. Outside of bulletin boards the big messaging app that was the cornerstone of things was AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). That once monolithic messaging application did exist from 1997 to 2017. That is a pretty good run for an instant messaging application. To the best of my recollection right now Yahoo! had a messenger application and Microsoft had one. Based on a quick Google search it looks like Yahoo Messenger shut down on July 17, 2018. The instant messaging service I remember using the most was AIM and that is a function of the time in my life and the other people using it. Even if I wanted to login and see if anybody wanted to chat that would not workout given the service is shut down. Right now people are more likely to use SMS or MMS to send messages on a smartphone. 

Whoa! Apparently, I was wrong about the computer not having a messaging application. I knew that Skype was installed, but that is not really an instant messaging application anymore, it is a video calling service. I have that Microsoft Messaging application installed on this computer, but it is not connected to my smartphone to send SMS or MSS. On my smartphone the last remaining instant messaging application I have installed is Google Hangouts. Nobody really uses Google Hangouts to chat anymore. Instead of writing a brief history of instant messaging applications the argument I was trying to make is that chatting all day with people seems to have changed or the way I used it changed. Generally speaking I’m not the best at sending daily messages to people to stay in contact. It has been years since actively texting via a smartphone or chat service was a part of my daily routine. When I went back to look at my writing archive from 2002 it was very clear that instant messaging was a big part of my routine. At that time in my life my computer setup was two huge CRT glass screened monitors. I could say they were like small televisions, but that reference does not have the intended meaning anymore. They were very heavy 2 foot cubes of display technology that sat on my desk. Modern monitors are much easier to work with by comparison. Later I might include a picture of that desk in this post, but I’m not promising anything. 

The point of the last two paragraphs was to explain that my writing routine used to have a word processing document on one monitor and instant messaging services on the other monitor. You knew the entire post was going to circle back to my writing routines. Back in 2002, I did not keep an email client up all day and texting on cellular phones was still expensive and limited. Most people who had phones could send around 250 messages a month or something to that effect. Most messages I sent were probably with a location and a time to meet somewhere for beverages, food, or music. Most of the chatting happened over some type of instant messaging service. I did a quick Google search for “popular instant messaging apps” and the results were pretty much what I expected. The popular ones are installed on my smartphone already and I don’t use any of them on a daily basis. Now would be a good time to circle back to the point of this page of prose about instant messaging services. The point was that I had been wondering about why that type of communication has been removed from my daily writing routine. Maybe I was wondering if communication has changed or if I had just stopped engaging with people via messaging services. Given that I generally respond to people very quickly I’m guessing the nature of dialogue or discourse on those services for me has changed radically. I’m not doing any deep thinking or engaging in any philosophical debate with anybody via chat. 

Right now if i wanted to argue with people online then I would have to pick a hashtag and start sending some Tweets directed at other people who like to argue online. Alternatively, I’m sure people are arguing on Reddit right now about pretty much everything. Neither of those two paths will hold my attention anymore. At this point, I tend to read a bunch of things online, a few books, and the magazines/journals that still show up in print and sit down and write. My arguments are a lot more asynchronous than they used to be for sure. The instant part of the conversation has long since fallen off my daily routine and been replaced by a daily writing routine that is entirely solitary. I guess it took me 800 words or so of prose to work out that my daily writing habit has become solitary and that does not appear to be a problem. Tomorrow I’m probably going to write about the nature of asynchronous arguments, or maybe things will take a different turn.

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Sitting down to write a solid page of prose is the same thing as trying to work on a 1,000 word writing assignment. In this Google Docs word processing document about a page of content to a page and a half of content will end up being about 1,000 words. Sitting down three times a day and producing 1,000 words would be one way to get on pace to write about a million words a year. Generally, I write all day. The first part of that all day writing extravaganza is dedicated to whatever I want to write about. That block of writing is mine and belongs to nobody else. Most of my daily typing is directed elsewhere and is not mine to keep in the end. That makes my endeavors to sit down and produce prose for myself all the more important. It took about 60 days of writing at a more active pace to get back to this point where an ongoing narrative is occurring and I’m writing more out of habit than good intention. 

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My entire day off was spent watching discs from the Alien franchise box set on Blu-ray and surfing the internet. It was a pretty low-key type of day spent digging around on Google’s Colaboratory for things to do with Python coding adventures in the future and surfing the web.

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