Anyone who’s anyone has a Gmail address nowadays, and why the F not — it’s FREE and enables a crazy distracting feature called Gchat. Sure, it’s not a new idea. After all, I still have my AIM screen name, SMP1155, from seventh grade. But because the chat windows pop up inside the Gmail window, it’s way easier to pretend you’re working or just checking your inbox when in reality you’re talking shit about the herpes your roommate just contracted.
Here is where I begin making fun of people who use Gchat, myself included. When in Gmail, you have the choice to set your status to alert others whether or not you’re available to chat. I will now deconstruct each option in case you’re unsure of which to choose:
1. Available – green dot/camera icon
Choose this option when you want to be bombarded with chats, if you have no shame, or if you want to seem friendly and inviting. If someone with a green dot doesn’t answer your message, he/she is either being douchey or just plain hates you and your lame attempts at conversation.
2. Busy – red dot/camera icon
Choose this option when you want to appear extremely important or like a huge tool, because red pretty much means, “I’m open to chatting, but only with cool people.” I’m always afraid to initiate conversations with red dots because I’m terrified of not being responded to and spiraling into a vortex of self-pity and pizza-binging.
3. Invisible – gray dot
Choose this option when you, like me, feel you’re so special and exclusive that in order for others to chat with you, they must jump through fiery hoops and climb barbed-wire fences. Of course, most people won’t go to these lengths and will just think that you’re actually offline. Which is kind of the point.
4. Idle – orange dot/camera icon
So you technically don’t choose this option, but you can definitely make it happen by not engaging in activity on the Gmail screen for 15 or more minutes, thereby keeping fellow Gchatters in suspense. They’ll wonder where you are, what you’re doing and what could be more important than responding to their messages. This can be a powerful manipulation device, so practice with extreme caution.