People can be witty over IM. People can be charming over IM. People can not be hot over IM. "I can tell by your clever use of italics and your intermittent 'lol'ing that you have a nice ass." Hey buddy – those yellow happy faces may be cute, but they're not quite accurate.

A random IM is okay, but like any other form of interaction, when you IM someone, it is your responsibility to begin the conversation. I think one day I'm going to call people and hang up right after I say hello, shake someone's hand and walk away, and write letters that say "Dear Jim," and leave the rest blank.

Bootie-calling is pretty skeezy. But it has nothing on the booty-IM. At least with calling, you think of everyone you know and you call the person who is most likely to respond. With IMing, you choose between the two people on your buddy list who are still awake.

Some people don't sign on much because they're afraid of being bombarded with IMs. I don't know which is harder to believe – that someone hasn't yet grasped the concept of successfully saying "can I talk to you later?" or that a bombardment worth of people would want to talk to anyone that slow.

People are able to lose all inhibition over IM. You can confess your love, tell someone off, or make crude sexual jokes that would otherwise be inappropriate. It's like being drunk but without the beer. Or the play.

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