Law School Gchat Status Dilemma

In this contemporary world of isolation, individuality, and corporate firewalls, there probably isn’t a service so revered and cherished in the law school community as Gmail.  While our forefathers, as well as many of us, were forced to deal with the AOL, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail struggles, we have been fortunate enough to be liberated from their Tyrannical rule and obnoxious vocal greetings the minute we log on.  Years later, we’ve seen this mail client bear the delicious fruit of  Gchat.  But lately, I’ve noticed a growing trend that is jeopardizing peace and happiness for all of us in the bright green Gmail pastures.

So what is this threat I am are referring to exactly?  You might want to sit down for this one…

As you read this, there are “friends” who are slithering through your Gchat contact list like cat burglars, ready to pop up out of nowhere and ask you what your plans for the weekend are.  You’ve seen them, we’ve seen them (or rather, don’t see them, which is precisely the problem).  But now it’s time to come together as one as take a stand against them, because we all have a right to know who is around to suck away our productivity at the law library.

Just think: what if people were to try that same sort of behavior in real life?  It would have real life consequences, wouldn’t it?  Just imagine someone weaseling their way  into your apartment in Kevin-Bacon-in-Hollow-Man-esque fashion, sitting on your couch next to you and then striking up a conversation??  Nah, it would be curtains for them.  Sure, we would look like one of those fools playing Street Fighter on Nintendo Wii as we beat the dog crap out of whatever invisible “friend” creeped up on me, but that’s the nature of the situation folks!

But since when was chillin’ on Gchat in your invisibility cloak cool anyway?  Was I too busy protecting my tweets and retiring my Facebook walls to miss this hot trend?  I’ve thought about this a fair amount and we’ve come to a few possible explanations for the spike in invisible activities:

  1. Law students may be slightly embarrassed at the amount of time they spend on Gmail, so they’ve retreated to the darkest shadows of Gchat in order to remain present while cloaking their shame.
  2. Law students are, well…actually trying to get some school work done and need access to their e-mail in order to do that without being harassed by the Gchat peanut gallery.

Now, in theory there is nothing wrong with reason #2…except for the fact that most of us law students know damn well that you aren’t doing any real work.  Because if you were, then we wouldn’t constantly be knocked into shell shock whenever you rise out of the Gchat abyss like the Undertaker, and that’s where the problem lays: what should be a temporary state of existence in that chat box on the left side has become an alternative lifestyle of deception that too many have embraced.  You know those people who call you on a whim, but whenever you call them back their phone somehow always goes straight to voicemail?  Well, unfortunately these folks and Gchat shadow-lurkers are cut from the same cloth and should be avoided at all costs.

Look, at the end of the day, all I’m asking for is honesty!  No one is saying your status needs to be green, but if you’re struggling with Gchat identity and feeling like you need to keep you status invisible, then we’ve all failed as a Gmail community.  No matter where you work, chat lists are always better when there is a beautiful mix of green, red, and orange dots.


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