G-Chat: AIM for Grown-Ups

Admit it, you miss AOL Instant Messenger.  You miss that smattering of golden yellow - that square Buddy List haven where buddies, family members, and co-workers once coexisted peacefully. Gone are the days where it is socially acceptable to parade about the internet with a sassy alias like hotsk8tinchk789 or sweetnspicy22 (unless, of course, you’re commenting on a Forum article.  Then feel free to use whatever dumb alias you wish.)  AIM appears to have fallen by the way-side, to the graveyard of outdated programs.   Though some may still cling to the hope that it will have a comeback,  it is time to face reality.   I hate to be the one to break this to you, kids, but they've stopped making Beanie Babies, and, no, your holographic Charizard will never be worth that $100. It's time to move on. When you're done shedding your tears, know that there is still hope.  Built right into every CMCer's school-provided Google email is the efficient mode of communication known as G-Chat.  Just like AIM, this feature allows students to instantly "chat" each other through their email interface, allowing for quicker responses than sluggish emails.

If you email back and forth with someone for long enough, you will notice that their name will naturally begin to hover in the bottom left hand corner of your email.  They have automatically been added to your G-Chat buddy list. By clicking their name, you can open up a chat window with them, where you can exchange messages.

You can also add buddies to G-chat by using the "Search, add, or invite" feature.  Simply start typing a friend's name in this box, located at the top of your buddy list, and they should be suggested automatically thanks to your CMC address book. Now click "invite to chat." If they accept your request, their name will appear on your buddy list momentarily.

So now that we have tackled the issue of how to use G-Chat, we can tackle the bigger issue of why you should use it.

Here are five reasons why this is one tool you don't want to overlook:

1. It's extraordinarily helpful. Per usual, the possibilities are endless. You can use G-Chat to message a friend in Poppa, to figure out whether the temperamental printer there is working before you make the trek, or just to ask a friend how far they are on studying for that upcoming midterm.

2. It's easier than texting. We've all had to send it - that socially awkward text to someone in your class, one that you've never actually talked to, because you desperately need the homework. ("Hi, this is Caroline. So I got your number from Drew and...")

3. It's less distracting than Facebook chat. Come on, you know full well that the second you log on to that evil network, even if it's only to get your Math 30 homework, you will end up spending thirty minutes creeping on photos from TNC. Save yourself the distraction.

4. It's fun. Feeling creative? Just like AIM Away Messages, G-Chat allows you to set your availability to "Available" or "Busy," with a space to elaborate known as your G-Chat status. Recently, a trend has emerged where students make their G-Chat statuses a pun on the location in which they are studying. For example, here are a few Ryal related statuses:

  • Casino Ryal
  • The X-Ryals
  • First Chair Ryal-in
  • Man vs. Ryal-d
  • Ryal my guitar gently weeps
  • Good ole boys were drinking whiskey and Ryal

5. Your friends are using it. Or at the very least, could use it. Since every CMCer automatically has G-Chat as part of their email, it tends to catch on as you get older. Upperclassmen are certainly the most active G-Chat users, whereas freshmen struggle to get their buddy list started. End the age gap, freshmeat, and fearlessly add your peers instead of waiting for them to automatically appear. Start the trend. AIM may be outdated, but efficacious methods of communication never go out style.

Still need G-Chat help? Try here.