Just about every time that I set iChat to “Available,” some fool sends me an instant message that reads, simply, “hi.” I’ve given my screen name to something like 12 people in the six months that I’ve been using instant messaging, so I don’t know how that people get it. I ignore them, and they follow it up with a couple more, such as “how r u??” or “whats up?!” 1 out of 10 times, I’ll respond with a curt “Can I help you?”, and it always turns out to be a DMB fan that thinks that I might be feeling conversational, and have an idle 10 minutes to learn about their class schedule or their cheating girlfriend.
Consequently, I just keep iChat set to “Offline.” This means that IM is useless to me. So here’s the solution. I’m going to set iChat to only accept messages from people that are on my Buddy List. (I’ve got all of this terminology down now: “buddy list,” “screen name,” etc. I’m so proud.) Everybody else gets ignored. So if you want me to be able to get messages from you, e-mail me your screen name. Hint: if I don’t know you, I do not want your screen name.
Maybe this will help.