the awesome/terrifying freedom

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it's interesting to see how emoticons have infused instant messenging, email, and all written communication. they give us a new form of punctuation that substitutes for facial expression. we can now say:

you look like shit today :-)

i have been, on occasion, obsessive about instant messenging, especially when writing to someone with whom i'm having a heated discussion. it's amazing what can go on in instant messages while i'm sitting in my cubicle. i've had debates, arguments, flirtations, near break-ups, forgivenesses, business deals, basically every type of human interaction save for the exchange of fluids or the throwing of fists.

and the analysis of it can be so maddening. my IM program at work tells me when the other person is typing. it also tells me when they have stopped typing, but have not hit enter. so, you can see when you're really getting to someone, or if you've stumped them, or if you've caught them in a lie - they start to type. they pause. they erase. they write something else, they pause, change their mind, erase, type again, then they hit 'send,' and the message is usually something short like 'ok.' is there anything more irritating than passive aggressive IMing?

yes yes, of course nearly all of these people i'm talking to are also at offices, and are balancing the discussion of whether or not 'closer' was a good movie with oh say ten phone calls and updating a spreadsheet - regardless, you can tell. i've sat at my desk in tears because of IM conversations. i've also sat here in rages of fury or in barely controlled fits of laughter.

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