I have always said...'I hate MSN'. Why you might ask? Well, it's probably a combination of the impersonal, and annoying factors associated with it.
I can remember being in Jr.high and parts of high school before MSN (or more likely before my knowledge of it) when my friends and I would play outside or talk on the phone for hours. I realize that talking on the phone is also somewhat impersonal...we'll leave that for now, 'cause at least it gives you some sensory perception of another person. On MSN you don't have to see, touch, or even hear another human being...in fact if you're on long enough you may actually forget you're conversing with real people (or so I hear). I recognize that it is easier for some people to communicate through the computer than in person, but isn't that a symptom of the problem...that we are encouraging and enabling people to live within independence and isolation?
As for annoying...it's those 'conversations' that go on forever or that you can't really get out of kindly and that encroach upon the real reason you actually signed in for in the first place that fall into this category. I know you can block people, or just not use it at all which is what I did for a while until....
I stopped 'hating' the system and started using it. I realized that although it can be impersonal and annoying MSN really does have it's good sides too. Take convenience...it's great when I need to ask a quick question, or get advice on some research to be able to type it in and get a reply without having to leave my computer. Plus short conversations on MSN don't seem quite as rude as calling someone up just to ask a simple question, not to mention the fact talking online doesn't always require the same pleasantries.
As a youth worker I also realize that like it or not, some students really do open up more comfortably behind a computer screen as opposed to face to face. Instead of shunning this fact I have learned to use it as a stepping stone and relationship building tool. I still limit conversations but meeting someone where they are most comfortable is an important part of building trust.So have I conceded for the sake of time and others, to become a full fledged MSNer...the jury's still out but for now I'll appreciate technology for what it is...not a substitute for real people, but perhaps a way to bring people together.