It seems to me that Gmail came into the world in a most auspicious era—precisely in time for my first job. I think that my feelings on this great technological advancement must be akin to everyone else’s feelings on the cell phone, that is: 1) it is a necessity 2) how did people function before it? [And, by people, I mean recent college graduates in entry- level jobs where boredom and tedium reign supreme].
The best thing about gmail is, of course, gchat—a lovely tool that allows you to chat with friends when logged into your email account. Gchat is essential if you’re looking for discretion or if you are so unfortunate as to have your boss sit right behind you—like me. Once on gchat you can blithely gossip away. It’s much more innocuous that other chat tools, like AIM, for example. I wouldn’t recommend using AIM at work unless you have some kind of phantom boss or if you don’t mind one of your co-workers seeing you talking to xoxocutie00 or bigdaddyjl. (I once knew someone who had the latter screen name).
Another great thing about gchat is that people can’t get too personal or emo on it. There’s not really space for creating a profile with things like AXΩ 4eva in pink or R.I.P Uncle Ernie. However, you can update your away message and upload a profile picture.
Don’t get me wrong—there is still opportunity for you to make privy or embarrassing information public on gchat. You can still post that saccharine love song as your away message. And there’s always facebook and twitter if that’s just not enough.
P.S. Here are some prized away messages gathered from my friends on facebook and gchat, mostly from today and a few memorable ones from the past:
“is in a lot of pain… and at least this time it is not emotional! Ha! Ow :(!”— facebook
“is apparently in a kind of cranky mood. Look out, world. Not even I saw this coming”—facebook
“biology is cutting away at my oxygen - ironic right?”—facebook
P.P.S. I, too, am implicated in the voyeuristic, narcissistic internet-world.