Hi. I'm Elizabeth, and I'm a chat-o-holic.
At my old job, the entire office was on MSN Messenger. My phone rang more or less never. If you had a work question, the easiest thing in the world was just to open up a chat window and IM somebody. If they were away from their desk, they'd get back to you shortly. Easy peasy.
And chat is loads of fun, although I can't stand chat shorthand. It really doesn't take very much longer to type out a grammatically correct sentence, for God's sake. Don't even get me started on people who would type "LOL" when they were easily within earshot and you could perfectly well hear them not laughing.
But that's not the point. The point is that chat really is a fairly good way to communicate. I've had some pretty significant conversations through that medium; and being accustomed to it, I really miss being able to exchange written ideas instantly with someone in another room.
We have a chat function - sort of - where I now work. It's a module of Novell Client and it Suh, Uh, Uh, Ucks. First of all you open up the server and select the person you want to "chat" with off a list from the address book. For some reason there are double listings for each person. One of them works and one doesn't, but you don't know which is which, so select both. Then type your message, hit "send," and voila! you get a confirmation notice. You have to click "OK" on it to make it go away.
The recipient of your IM first must hit "reply," then they have to select your two names from the address book (because when you hit "reply" it doesn't, say, automatically select the person who sent you the message in the first place), type their message, and hit send, and they get a confirmation notice.
Repeat until your brain bleeds, which let me tell you, doesn't take as long as you might think.
Okay. Million-dollar question here. What the hell is so bad about MSN Messenger (or Yahoo!, or AIM, or who-the-hell-ever) that state employees can't use something, anything other than this monumentally cumbersome chat software? It's hardly worth using at all. And forget about trying to cyber, which might, strictly speaking, be a little inappropriate for the workplace, but would sure make a slow Friday afternoon go a lot faster. And talk about teambuilding!
Ah well. We new employees, we're young and full of innovative ideas. Our time will come, our time will come.