Delenda Affectus Epistula Est

June 14, 2009 at 9:27 pm 4 comments

| Gabriel |

The new version of Skype has a fantastic “screen sharing” feature but an incredibly annoying feature called mood messages. This feature constantly gives you updates on your contacts, including even what they happen to be listening to on iTunes and other status updates they choose to post. Not only does it make this information accessible should you choose to look for it, but it shows up as a history event, so I’m constantly thinking I missed a phone call or something important, only to find out that it’s just that one of my friends is listening to another song. Personally, I don’t feel the need for all my friends and colleagues to know what song I’m listening to or when I’m using the toilet, nor do I care to know the same about them. If I wanted a ubiquitous adolescent stream of narcissistic micro-banalities I’d already be using Twitter.

Anyway, this feature is turned on by default so I’m describing how to turn it off and return Skype to being what it ought to be, a dignified and professional tool for video conferencing, and not another technologically enabled manifestation of the erosion of personal space through incessant distraction. First, regain your own privacy by going to “Preferences” and unselecting “Enable Mood Message Chat.” Second, ignore the extroversion of your contacts by right-clicking within the mood message pseudo-chat window and select “Chat Notification Settings.” In this screen choose “Do Not Notify Me” and “Mark unread messages as read immediately.”

Your dignity and privacy has now returned, enjoy it.

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The fat tail Clara est la fille de Sophie

4 Comments

  • 1. eszter  |  June 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    If I wanted a ubiquitous adolescent stream of narcissistic micro-banalities I’d already be using Twitter.

    I don’t think there’s any evidence that suggests that young people are the most likely authors of public Twitter posts. Where did you get information that suggests this phenomenon?

  • 2. gabrielrossman  |  June 16, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    eszter, i love you, but you are a killjoy.
    as you know very well, i don’t know have any hard data on the demographics of different internet services (you’re the expert). my meager defense is that technically I was using “adolescent” as an adjective, not a noun so the claim is that engaging in a stream of narcissistic micro-banalities is the sort of thing that is consistent with adolescent behavior, irregardless of whether this particular act is indeed especially practiced by adolescents.
    i actually felt a little bad about making fun of twitter in that in the few days since i wrote it the iranian opposition has been using it to such good effect. a technology being available for people to use in mobilizing against what looks to have been ballot stuffing counts a lot more than the routine use of that technology being the propagation of 140 character or less mind farts.

  • 3. eszter  |  June 16, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    You missed the point of my comment.

  • […] when such features are opt-out rather than opt-in. For instance, I was not enthusiastic about Skype “mood messages” giving your friends and colleagues a play-by-play of what music you listen to, nor was I enamored […]


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