Meet Jason. Jason is a developer on the Messenger team. Jason also is my friend.
When I put Jason on my buddy list, I had a problem. Which group should I add him too? Friends? Coworkers? People who look cool in sunglasses?
I had the same problem with my sister. She belongs in the family group as well as friends.
In the new Windows Live Messenger Beta – I found my solution!
Step 1: Right-click and select Edit Contact
Step 2: Click Notes
Step 3: Type in key words (or tags) that define a subset of your contacts. If you’d consider making a group out of it, it’s a good key word. Here are some of my examples:
Friends, Coworkers, Family, Frisbee Players, Snowboarders, School Friends, Seattleites, People who owe me a favor, Spaces I like.
You could also give people tags based on the classes you take together, dorms people live in, teams you’re on together, or the clubs you’re in etc….
Step 4: Hit Save Contact
The slightly annoying part is doing this for each one of your contacts. It could take a little while, but so do most great things.
Step 5: Next time you need someone in a particular group, go to the Word Wheel, type in the key word. Word wheel searches all the edit contact fields, so it will see your note and voila! You’ll get your group.
Here is an example for what I do when I need a ride from my home in Seattle to work in Redmond:
And when I need to ask someone about Messenger:
And when I want someone play Frisbee with:
This method is way cooler than groups, because it allows one person to be in multiple "groups." See how Jason is a Seattleite and a Coworker? See how Nicole is a Coworker and a Frisbee Player?
I made this discovery when I wanted an easy way to find all the people who work with me on Voice and Video features, but I didn’t want to take them out of the “Coworker” group. They all have a V&V tag so I can find them easily. I admit we could make groups better to allow for this functionality, but until then, this is a fun work around.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. Oh, and please feel free to share some of the other creative ways you’re using Messenger…the good ones might give us a topic for another blog post!