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Where, or how, do I set it up in MSN Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger to automatically switch my status to either "Invisible" or "Offline" when idle for a half hour, or an hour?

I know how to set my status as "Away" or "Busy" after 10 minutes, but can't seem to find a way to set the offline status options without manual intervention.

Back story

As a software developer, I am very used to turning the computer on for the whole day and not turning it back off. (For example, checking email for urgent fixes, fix issue and push to web server). It's not even turned off when heading to sleep in case I might find it hard to fall asleep and come back to check on the computer. Or to have it there ready in the morning to check that everything is okay.

If I'm seen as being online for 24 hours of a day, some people see me as weird. Their perception of my value decreases as I'm always there (hard to get = high value; always there = low value).

Leaving it on makes everyone in my contacts list think I have nothing better to do all day than sit in front of the computer. Even though it's my job and I do admittedly spend more time online than other people. That's why I'd like to find a way to set my status as Invisible or Offline.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The solution is to explain to your friends that your machine is always connected to the Internet regardless of whether or not you are sitting in front of it, and regardless of whether or not you are awake, and regardless of the time of the day or night. If it says "away", you're almost certainly not there and they should consider it to be the same as if you were showing as "offline". I suggest also explaining that they can try sending you a message anyway, but shouldn't expect a reply (since you're probably not there) -- but you'll reply when you get back to the computer.

User education is good. Managing expectations is better.

If your friends can't understand this, and (worse) actually find you less valuable as a result of your online status being what it is by mere virtue of your always-on Internet connection, they weren't true friends to begin with.

I go through this same explanation when I make a new friend and talk to them online, and I've had very few problems with people understanding this when I explain it as above.

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Explanation probably works well with guys more. Girls don't really take explanation because they often "feel" and use emotion. I can explain all I want, but 2 weeks later, when they log on and see I am there and wasn't aware of the "away" or "busy" icon, they will think "he is online again", 8 hours later when she goes online, she will again feel "he is online again". Maybe I can also try what many girls do: set myself to be always invisible. They tend to do that and only talk to people they want to talk to. – 太極者無極而生 Mar 25 '10 at 6:16

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