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Fri, 20 Feb 2004
But I like the iChat pictures...
Danah is getting weirded out by the iChat buddy icon pictures. It was interesting to read her account of why, because I've recently discovered that I actually like the pictures (to my surprise).

For a long time, I thought the buddy icon thing was just kind fo dumb, and I didn't really know any people who took the time to chagne the default buddy icon. But OS X wants your picture, and once it gets it, it's plastered all over. iChat, Address Book, Mail.app. And I've found that those pictures help me -- they're not just eye candy. When I open a message in Mail.app and keep following the thread, I can easily tell who the message is from. I like it more than I thought I would.

In iChat, the pictures in the buddy list take some of the work out of figuring out if someone is online. Since I started at OSAF, I've entered into a culture that is more realtime oriented. The ASF is predominantly an e-mail culture, but OSAF uses IRC a lot. So I've started doing more IRC, and more iChat. I normally have 6 IRC channels open (3 OSAF, #joiito, #groovy, and the ASF members channel). I also have had as many as 3 iChat sessions. When you have that much comm going on at once, I find that the cues provided by all those little iChat pictures really help to keep things straight (Actually, I wish IRC clients could do this, too). Of course, with that much comm going on at once, I don't have time to think of any of the issues that Danah wrote about in her post.

Maybe a bunch of pictures that weren't pictures of the person I was talking to would work to disambiguate the conversation, but I've noticed a difference between non-picture icons and picture icons, and the picture icons do have to seem more of a draw.

Or perhaps there's nothing really deep here and it's just matter of personal preference, and Danah's preferences reach a deep level of emotional consciousness that mine do. But it is interesting to ponder.

[00:05] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 4 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
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