call waiting and away message

John McChesney-Young panis at PACBELL.NET
Fri Feb 6 21:04:03 UTC 2004

On Fri, 6 Feb 2004, Dennis Baron wrote:
>>  I'm trying to discover early uses of "away message."...

and Fred Shapiro wrote:

>Here's the earliest I readily find on Nexis:
>The Washington Times
>July 12, 2001, Thursday, Final Edition

The first example I find in Usenet via Google Groups is from May 19, 1988:


It should be obvious that "I am away" messages should not be sent more than
once to the same recipient. However, Jacob's suggestion does have a practical
interest. Suppose the person which is luckily cruising the Carribeans for 2
monthes is a member of several distribution lists: all members of all these
lists, often the same persons, will receive the "I am away" notification..
By sending (once) the " away message " or other auto answers as specially
typed messages (e.g. user level acknowledgments), one gives the opportunity
to the lists to adopt a special treatment, e.g. dropping them rather than

(end quote)

The next I find (with this particular sense) is from June 12, 1991 in
a group devoted to discussion of Internet Relay Chat (IRC):


At this point of net-degeneration I'd prefer to give the /wall command (which
only generates one netwide broadcast, just as much as a /nick change or an
/ away message ) to the public: everyone can /wall, and everyone /ignores all
/walls except those who enjoy sending and receiving them.

(end quote)

The former quote suggests an e-mail auto-response, and the latter an
auto-response in real-time on-line conversation.


*** John McChesney-Young  **  panis at  **   Berkeley,
California, U.S.A.  ***

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