At least, I think I've already done one of these, I don't know... Huh.
Basically, folks, I've had an increased number of people adding me IMs lately and a few issues have cropped up. Specifically, when I first meet someone online I like to chat with them extensively, get to know them, and they tend to want to do the same back to me. This really matters to me, and I tend to have closer ties with my "fans" that just about any other artist or author I've ever heard of. Anywhere. Period.
Recently I've had trouble making the time to actually have a proper chat with some of the newer folks to add me to messengers, and I'd like to take a moment to explain why.
First and foremost, I've never been able to just sit there and chat for hours. I can multi-task, but there's a limit. So, whereas mostly people who seem to be able to do this tell me they're basically sitting there with a chat window and maybe some YouTube videos, I'm not like that. I presently have 120 tabs open in Firefox, Astrays final chapter open and a chat program. Two chat programs actually, but whatever.
Sometimes I'm simply busy or distracted. I cannot sit there and focus entirely on chatting because I won't get anything done otherwise. As most people know, multi-tasking is actually "toggling" between one task and another, not literally stirring the stew with one hand and changing the baby with the other. So sometimes I'm simply too busy, or too distracted, or disinclined to focus on chat right at a particular moment. This can result in periods where I can't chat intensively. Basically, I know you might be, but I am not just sitting there focusing on nothing but chatting for hours - I can't do that, I'll get nothing done.
Secondly, I'm persistently online. Whenever available, I am on MSN... but that usually means I'm using my phone or signed in when I otherwise was not available to chat properly. You might see me online, but that doesn't mean I'm not at my job, working.
This might seem obvious, but it does need to be restated: the fact I'm online and available at all is a miracle of modern technology and my bosses' awesomeness. I can't be expected to neglect my job and take undue advantage of this laxity. Most people I know would lose their jobs if they fiddled with their phone during their shifts.
My phone usually updates the status message to tell you if I'm online with my phone.
This means I could be on the bus, willing to chat nonstop, or online but actually playing basketball for the next 2 hours or relaxing at the pub. Depending on the activity at the time, my responsiveness might not be very consistent. I apologize in advance, but the only alternative is for me to not be online at all for you.
Thirdly... install Steam. Just go and do it now. >:3
It doesn't cost anything, it doesn't require you to buy games. It is totally free and it is the only way you're going to talk to me when I decide to play the video games that I, you know, own and want to play.
I don't just sit at my computer and stare at chat, like I said before. I have people asking me to play games with them and when I open that game I can't see MSN or whatnot. Sometimes I want to use my machine to play games.
If you really don't feel that you have another reason to install Steam (you're not going to use it for gaming or you don't have anyone else you'd use it to chat with) then that's fine. But if I'm playing L4D2 or something and you start to chat with me through an external IM, I'll have no clue you're even there until I finally tear myself away from the game.
Likewise, bear in mind that I'm not being anti-social when I'm gaming. I usually have 5 or more people still talking to me, sometimes using VOIP. When you're already handling 5 conversations and talking in real time to someone about, say, the state of the real estate market or whatever, it's pretty hard to juggle much more.
Ultimately, I don't mean to ignore anyone and I wouldn't do it on purpose. I've chastised myself for ignoring someone, promised I wouldn't forget about them for so long, then promptly forgot about them because I'm doing something that requires intense attention, while also on voice-chat to a good friend or something. What it comes down to is that I'm basically swamped with people to talk to, things to do, and I sometimes suck at responding promptly on MSN because of that.
Sorry. I'll try to make it up to you at some point, that's all I can say.