Posted by Wendy the Mighty

Hi, World O’ Messenger!  As this is my first post, I thought I would preface it by saying that I am very happy to be here and that I think Messenger is a spiffy peachy keen app (grin) that kicks spiffy peachy keen butt (grins again).  That being said, I will move on to the topic of today’s post: Offline Instant Messages (applause appreciated).  I think this is a great topic because (1) it’s a wicked cool feature and (2) I see a lot of posts about Offline Instant Messages (OIMs) that indicate there are some misunderstandings and / or knowledge gaps about the feature and (3) it’s my area and I LOVE talking about my areas.


OIMs FAQ (Things You Should Absolutely, Positively Know):

What are OIMS?

OIMs, or Offline Instant Messages, are messages currently sent to buddies who are offline or who are appearing offline.  They are delivered to a backend store and are retrieved by the recipient on login, or, in the case when the recipient is only appearing offline, they are delivered immediately (or close to it). 

OIMs can be sent via Messenger to certain mobile buddies who are offline, passport buddies who are offline, and yahoo buddies who are offline.  OIMs can be received by almost all types of buddies.

How do I send an OIM?

In the case of an ordinary offline passport buddy, you can just open a conversation window as you normally would (either by double clicking on the buddy in the Main Window or from the Send an Instant Message menu option).  The conversation window will look like a normal conversation window, and while sending text and standard emoticons will be possible, some features (such as sending a wink or nudge, etc) will not be possible. If your buddy is only appearing offline, they may respond to your OIM and a “regular” conversation may now take place.

In the case of a combination passport / mobile user, double clicking on the buddy in the Main Window will result in a mobile conversation window, which will result in the instant message being sent as a mobile message.  To send messages as OIMs instead of mobile messages, right click on the buddy, and select Send Other > Send an offline instant message (see below).


Can I change how I view OIMs?

This is a pretty important option that most people don’t know about.  OIMs are, by default, displayed on sign in.  For some people, this is awesomely great!  For others, they would rather pick their own time to view their OIMs.  Totally possible!  Navigate to Tools>Options>Messages.  Under “Offline Instant Message Settings”, select the second option: “Show a link to my offline messages in the main window” and click on the “Apply” button.  This is what we call the “Consolidated View” of OIMs.  The default view, when OIMs are displayed on sign in, is called the “Automatic View” of OIMs.

In the image below, the Blue Box surrounds the Automatic View of OIMs (selected by default), and the Red Box surrounds the Consolidated View of OIMs.


For the Consolidated View of OIMs, OIMs will be downloaded for viewing on sign in, just as they are for the Automatic View, but they will not be displayed.  Instead, a little icon in the Main Window, next to the email icon, will appear.  By the OIM icon, will be the number of people who have sent you OIMs since you last checked (see Red Box in image below).


How do I store OIMs?

OIMs are exactly like IMs when it comes to storing OIMs locally.  If you have Message History enabled, OIMs will be saved just as if they had been sent as IMs.  In order to enable Message History, go to Tools>Options>Messages and under “Message History”, check “Automatically keep a history of my conversations”.

Will I get OIMs when I am only appearing offline?

Yes.  AND you can pick and choose to whom you reply.  If you reply to BuddyA who sends you an OIM, you will still appear offline to BuddyB who also sent you an OIM but to whom you did not feel the need to respond.  Pretty cool, eh?  Of course, BuddyA will now know you are actually online and hiding, but if you reply to their message, that’s already a pretty good indication that you’ve been hiding, heh heh….  Also, once you reply to your online buddy, you can send them winks and nudges, etc, just as if it were a normal conversation between two buddies.  And, if you want to go back into ‘hiding,’ just ignore them for a few minutes and poof! you are back to appearing offline to them as well.  Now, whether or not they believe it is another question all together (grin).


Well, that’s it for now!  I hope you have enjoyed this little OIM FAQ!  As I said, OIMs is my area, my baby, and the joy (and sometimes bane) of my existence.  So, if you have any questions, requests, comments, jokes, etc to make, please feel free to do so!  I will posting to the newsgroup, so we can discuss this AMAZING and REALLY COOL feature at length.   I will be completely unbiased (grin). 

Wendy the Mighty
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