I had the creepiest IM conversation recently, from an IM handle I have never seen before (handle has been changed to protect, um, whoever) :
(11:01:18) M****N: hi
(11:01:28) Christopher Fahey: who’s this?
(11:01:31) M****N: hi
(11:01:36) Christopher Fahey: who’s this?
(11:01:41) M****N: m****n
(11:01:47) Christopher Fahey: obviously
(11:01:53) M****N: ok
(11:02:00) M****N: i dont know u
(11:02:22) Christopher Fahey: you shouldn’t talk to strangers
(11:02:34) M****N: i no u shouldnt
(11:02:37) M****N: bye
(11:02:42) M****N: creep
(11:09:55) M****N logged out.
First of all, I’m the creep?!? I wasn’t the one chatting up a stranger.
Secondly, this is not the first time I’ve gotten unsolicited IMs from strangers. What is up with people who strike up chats with other random AIM users? Where on earth do they get our IM handles from, and what drives them in the first place to seek out strangers for chatting?
There are all kinds of ways of imagining the sordid stories behind these messages, and I don’t like any of them because they all lead to the same three basic possibilities:
- Some people type randomly into IM clients until they reach a real person
- There’s a spider/harvester program out there crawling the net for IM handles and publishing them somewhere so people like M****N can find strangers to talk to.
- Someone I know (a friend or a colleague?) gave my name to someone (who gave it to someone, etc.) who gave it to M***N.
None of these make me happy.