Years ago, I had a lot of online “buddies” on my buddy list, whether it’s for AIM, Yahoo, or MSN (I used Trillian to use all 3 service at the same time.) As the years gone by, the list has dwindled, and today there’s only 3 people I talk to on a regular basis. I’ve always wondered why; have I become anti-social online, or shied away from making new contacts?

It could be a number of factors, one of them being that I can’t stand the original, bloated interfaces for AIM, Yahoo Messenger, or MSN Messenger. All 3 suffer from feature-creep, use too much resources for such simple tasks, and sport terrible user interfaces. Which is why I used Trillian, until version 3 came out, and it suffered from a lot of the problems the other IM clients had. I ended up going back to version 2, which was minimalistic, easy to use, and use little resources.

Another reason is that I’ve discovered that a lot of people are willing to lie online, more so than if you were in person. I’ve had a number of friends and associates blocked and ignored because I found out things they had told me was a lie. I imagine a psychologist would have his hands full studying this phenomenon; there’s already research material on it already. Because it is harder to detect lies during textual interaction compared to face-to-face, and the consequences are less severe, people are as likely to lie than not. So there’s the lack of trust on my part with new friends.

The other reason is that most old friends have gotten busy as the years gone on, and I’ve changed my habits, so we see each other online less and less. Eventually we would just stop talking, and after 2 years, I’d remove them from my buddy list. There’s nothing wrong with this, we all have to live our lives.

If I did have a lot of friends online to talk to, I wish they’d all use Google Talk, which is my ideal instant messenger client. It’s simple, easy to use, uses little resources, and quality software. I’m sick of Trillian, AIM, Yahoo, and MSN Messenger, and anyone using the MySpace messenger should be shot on sight.