Journal: News & Comment

Monday, May 01, 2006
# 10:24:00 AM:

Random chats

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I've used instant messaging for a long time—one measure of that is that, (a) I have an account with ICQ, which was one of the first IM networks as an Israeli startup back in 1996, before AOL bought it in '98, and (b) my ICQ number is in the low seven digits, and is thus considered "early" in ICQ land.

I rarely use the account, but do keep it open in Proteus, my multi-protocol IM client. At least three times a week, I get random chat requests (usually just "hi") from people with very large ICQ numbers and either minimalist or no profiles on the ICQ site, i.e. effectively anonymous chatters. Sometimes I'll ask "Can I help you?" and I'll get some sort of cryptic reply. Sometimes they claim to be teenaged girls from Eastern Europe, but they're unclear on what they're asking for, and I have no reason to believe they're who they say they are.

Often they claim to know me, but seem to have confused me with someone they do know, usually much younger. If I tell them I'm a 36 year old father of two from Vancouver, them seem puzzled and leave.

Any idea what's going on here? Is there some newbie ICQ "randomly chat with people" protocol I'm unaware of and am getting caught up in?


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