I have certain policies I apply to myself about IM's in general. These are my rules and I pretty much hold them only to me. I don't expect others to conduct themselves the same way when it comes to IM's, because they are not me. But, I do expect when people IM me, they are willing to adhere to my ideas to a certain extent.
Don't get mad, that statement isn't nearly as pissy as it sounds. Read on. These are my IM rules.
1: I generally don't turn on my AOL IM or ICQ unless I am around and willing to receive IM's. So, if you see me, and you want to talk to me, feel free to IM me.
2: If I suddenly find I have to do something online that requires more of my attention, I will tell you, "I'm going to sign off IM's before so I can finish something." Please don't be offended.
3: I'm kinda slow at times and have a lot of trouble keeping six conversations going at once. Please don't be offended if it takes me a bit to respond to you.
4: If I IM you and you are busy with something else, be it RPing, or chatting, or whatever, please don't think I'll be offended if you say, "I'm sorry, I'm busy now." I understand.
5: I have a lot of trouble IMing people. Especially if I have never IMed them before. I'm always afraid they are busier with something and the last person they want to disturb them is me. So, if you see me online, and you think, "Well, she hasn't IMed me, she must not like me." Don't think that way. I've just got a weird shyness. I can have the same problem with telephoning people.
I've gotten a few IMs lately and had a couple weird IM incidents happen that made me think I ought to explain how I feel about IM's in general.
So, in sumary, if my IM services are up, feel free to IM me, chances are I'm open for getting IMs. If I don't jump to IM you immedietly, it's probably because I'm afraid you're in the middle of something and I don't want to disturb you. And please, this is the biggest one to me... If you're busy and I IM you, please, please, please, tell me you're busy and this is not a good time. My biggest fear is that I will alienate a friend totally without knowing it, by bothering them when they are busy and not knowing they are busy. I'd rather know right upfront, "I'm busy, we'll talk another time." I won't be offended, really.