Away message

From Academic Kids

An away message is a function of some instant messaging applications whereby a user may post a message that appears automatically to other users if they attempt to make contact, and he or she is not available. It is analogous to the voice message in an answering machine or voice mail system. However, away messages are often updated much more frequently than messages in answering machines, and thus may serve as a means of instant, limited "publication" or indirect communication.

Whereas answering machine or voice mail messages often have a generic greeting to leave a message, away messages more often contain a description of where the person is at the moment or what they are doing. Because most instant messaging clients tell users when their online contacts are away before they send a message, more often than not away messages are meant to be read in lieu of sending a message, rather than a response.

Particularly among younger users, away messages sometimes contain a joke, song lyrics, or an adage instead of an actual description of where the user is. This is done so that the user will appear to his contacts as being away, but potential contacters will have something to read more entertaining than the dry and uninteresting "I am away from my computer right now" which is often the default message on popular instant messaging clients.

Sometimes, instead of a user signing off in anger, an away message best summarized as "Get Lost" is used, to make clear that the user is away-by-choice, and prevent people thinking that the user might have suffered some computer or network failure.

Away messages are not to be confused with idle messages, which is an automatic reply to a message when the messaging client has determined that the replier is not at his computer.

External links

  • Away Messages (http://www.awaymessages.com): A large collection of away messages.
  • IMCourier Official Site (http://www.imcourier.com): A free service that allows you to view and respond to your AIM & ICQ away messages from any PC.
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