I wish AIM's groups meant something

· 5 min read
My progression through instant messaging applications has been a long drawn out one. I started, like many did, with ICQ. Sadly that went south about 3 seconds after AOL bought it. It was great because you could meet random people and talk with them without really having to worry about the whole spam issue that is plaguing MSN Messenger (or Windows Live! Messenger, or whatever it is microsoft is calling it these days). That said, I moved to multi-platform messengers rigth after that. Some friends of mine refuse to leave MSN, while others are completely against leaving AIM ( this includes .Mac since it is the same thing). So it was Trillian for me while I was using Windows. File transfers there were hit or miss. That was fine. I switched to Mac and immediately started using Adium. As my life progressed however, I have become dependent on IM for my everyday communications. Adium's file transfer capabilities are just horrible and it really got to me. I had to stop. I switched to iChat. I use Chax with my iChat and I also have MSN on my iChat, those are the two big ones and thats all I really need since most of my current contacts use AIM and not anything else. This brings me to a different problem, however. My AIM name is my personal and my business name. That is why I wish AIM's folders meant something. As you can see above, I have all these random folders that I didnt even create. I can make a work folder and I can make a personal folder but in the end, they both behave the same. If I am online, I am online to all those people, I wish I could set myself offline to my Buddies, but not to my 'Web Life' contacts. I wish I could do that for everyone, like what would happen if I am listening to Peaches and I have iTunes forwarding the currently playing song to my iChat list? Bad things indeed. The separation would mean that you can have two personalities, two different ways of being while still keeping yourself in one place. One profile different uses. With this said, why isn't any of these start-ups creating a nice Jabber based network that follows standards and allows for this kind of flexibility? There's already a billion Twitter-like services and AIM / MSN  integration is well documented by now, file-transfers being possible if you really put muscle behind it. Ask Cerulean Studios, they seem to have a wealth of knowledge in the subject with mixed success and should help in the process. Just thought I'd share my frustrations.