Why I Don’t GChat

I don’t GChat or IM or Facebook Chat. Unless you give me a really good reason, I probably never will.

I have nothing against people who GChat. If that’s how you like to communicate, keep doing it. I’m not here to convince you otherwise.

But I feel like I get asked to switch to GChat more than I’m asked to switch from any other form of conversation. Never am I talking with someone in person and they say, “Hey, let’s switch over to e-mail.” I guess it kind of happens the other way around, but it’s a natural progression (especially when dating)–you e-mail a few times and then meet in person.

Here’s the thing: E-mail is my preferred method of communication, surpassed only by talking in person, and not all the time. E-mail lets me respond to someone at my own pace, when I want to, and with the time to gather my thoughts. Even if I reply to e-mail fairly quickly, which I often do, I can do other things in between writing e-mails. And I like the option to leave the e-mails behind for any reason at any time and not feel like I’m walking away from a live conversation, which GChat is.

With GChat, however, there’s an immediacy to it. It demands your immediate attention…and yet it’s not quite as fast as a real conversation. Honestly, it simply doesn’t seem like the best use of time. It’s more of a distraction than anything else. If you really need to talk to me about something, call me and we’ll work it out in 2 minutes, not 15 minutes of smiley faces and overlapping statements.

It’s for this same reason that I don’t like having conversations by text. I don’t want to be a part of any text conversation that lasts longer than 3 texts each unless it’s naughty. And even then, it’s too hard to type, and it creates the bad kind of multitasking scenario. The kind when you’re not really focused on anything despite dead air.

So you tell me: The next time someone says to me, “Can we just GChat?”, is there any compelling reason or scenario when I should say yes? Do you GChat?

10 thoughts on “Why I Don’t GChat”

  1. I do use it, and although there may not be a compelling reason for YOU to say yes, here’s why I like it:

    a. I strongly dislike talking on the phone. Not totally sure why. Even though I agree with you that it’s the fastest and most effective way to troubleshoot, I just don’t like it much.

    b. Gchatting allows there to be a searchable record of the conversation, which for work can be quite useful. (or personally, too)

    c. Gchat allows me to multi-task, which may be inefficient at times but is a large part of my job.

    d. Gchat allows me to troubleshoot with contract staff without being loud in the office and subjecting my co-workers to my conversations. I like that I can have a little back and forth with co-workers or friends alike without taking over the airwaves of the office.

    e. Many of my work and non-work related conversations include links. Gchat or Skype are a good way to pass these back and forth in the context of a conversation.

    I am not hailing Gchat as the best ever, nor am I even saying it’s better for your brain or more effective communication than the phone, but it does have some perks for me. In other news, I completely agree about text conversations and am continually surprised by how many people do not know when to quit!

    • Emma–Those are good reasons. I actually avoid the phone in general too, mostly because I like to be able to search through conversations later (which, as you pointed out, GChat can do). I don’t know anyone through work who would GChat rather than call, though.

      All good points. If my “clientele” would GChat instead of call, then yes, I wouldn’t mind that at all.

  2. I gchat with my friend Jake who teaches at a high school 4 hours south of here. We can’t talk on the phone during class, and Facebook looks like we are wasting time, but if we are on gmail, it looks almost… important. Hehe.

  3. Emailing is my first choice. I’ve used Gchat a couple of times but it was with a friend in Haiti and therefore it was cheaper than a phone call. We just happened to both be online at the same time. 🙂 I think our conversation started with “Does this thing actually work?” 🙂

  4. Is GChat basically the same as IM? I used to IM back in college, but I mostly enjoyed seeing other people’s away messages/finding out what they were up to.

    As you can tell from my general cluelessness above, I don’t GChat. I generally stay away from all things Google out of a stubborn resistance that isn’t really founded in anything. I thought about changing over to a Gmail address once, but my basic name was already taken, so I just sighed and strengthened my anti-Google sentiment. I’ve tried to sabotage Google twice–once in 2003 I caused a blackout that they and the rest of the Northeast ultimately recovered from and the second time (2008) nothing really happened.

  5. GChat isn’t the best format by any means. However, when you have to brainstorm with your writing partner, who like you is on central standard, it helps. Not to mention and I think it’s extortion, phone calls to Mexico tend to be relatively more expensive than countries that are further away. I prefer Yahoo myself. I also have a universal chat that handles all formats as some still are on trex, aka, hotmail. So whether it be G, or Y, or H, or Skype, it has purpose.


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