As I stated in my last post, I’ve been on a bit of a minimalism kick of recent. I’ve been contemplating my needs for things in my life and trimming down where I can. Over the weekend, I thought long and hard about my use of Instant Messengers and why I’m constantly logged into so many.

In 1997, I took my first contract as a consultant with the Kansas Building Industry Workers’ Compensation Fund, which was based out of Topeka, Kansas. Wanting to stay in touch with family and friends, I came across an application called ICQ (pronounced I seek you). I was online a good bit, even back then, so when a friend would log on to the Internet I was notified that they were online and I could say “hey”. It was revolutionary at the time and I guess for me it was the Twitter of the late 90’s.

Soon there were copy cats as other Instant Messenger networks entered the market. Each one offered a new feature, or I had a client that used a different network, and thus I ended up joining them all. Fast forward to today and I’m looking at eight different messaging networks that I’m logged into on a daily basis.

  • AIM — npugdotorg
  • Google Talk —
  • ICQ — 12443768
  • MSN —
  • Facebook —
  • Mobile Me —
  • Skype — mashby
  • Yahoo — ashbygroup

Wow. Do I really need to be logged into all these networks? Of course not. Programs like AdiumX (mac) and Trillian (win) make it easy to stay connected, but that doesn’t justify the number of open loops and potential distractions.

So Who Made The Cut?

I use Google Talk for work and it’s my primary IM network, so it stays. Mobile Me allows me to support Mac users via iChat and Skype I use from time to time, so I think both of those will stay as well.

As for the others, I’m canceling my accounts as soon as this article is posted. If you’re on one of these networks, I’m sorry, but feel free to use Google Talk, or send me an e-mail.

What’s Next?

I’m still contemplating other areas of my digital life, such as RSS, Twitter, Facebook, etc., but I haven’t finalized my decisions as of yet. When I do though, I’ll be sure to post about it.