Lauren Goode wants to bring back the age of presence indicators — like the AIM Away Messages — to give us all a break from the burden of synchronous communications.

I miss Away Messages. This nostalgia is layered in abstraction; I probably miss the newness of the internet of the 1990’s, and I also miss just being … away. But this is about Away Messages themselves. The bits of code that constructed Maginot Lines around our availability. An Away Message was a text box full of possibilities, a mini-MySpace profile or a Facebook status update years before either existed. It was also a boundary: An Away Message not only popped up as a response after someone IM’ed you, it was wholly visible to that person before they IM’ed you.

I really like the presence indicator, but I think, in terms of tech culture, we’ve moved past the barrier that “away” messages put up. People with whom I work ignore the presence indicator in Teams. It’s not unusual to have multiple people trying to message me, while my Teams message clearly says that I’m on the phone.

It’s Time To Bring Back The AIM Away Message | Wired

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