Since we work at different locations (4 to be specific), we peers communicate using Google talk. If the manager asks someone what is happening at some location, they just ping their colleague working at that location and report back casually. He was not aware that we used to communicate among ourselves before answering his questions. We all appeared real smart by being aware of what the other person is working on. There was another benift due to this. Before any bomb (workload dumping, called delegation) being dropped, we would be aware because the manager has this habit of thinking out loud and our colleague messaging us about the oncoming work. We, ofcourse as good employees, would find a reason to say we were busy by time the call arrives.
Recently he realized we were all chatting among ourselves just before answering him, all thanks to my colleague who was away when I pinged him. Now my manager thinks adding everyone on his messenger list would make him efficient and also avoid dialing the 100digits before making a call (those sick password restrictions). All of us added the boss to our messenger lists. Now before we would realize what hit us, we would be neck deep in work.
Not to appear suspicious, gradually we all signed in as invisible. Now we are back on track at appearing smart (appearing only). We ping each other, but do not reply to the boss as we were not online. These days he thinks we are too busy to come online and also doesn't give us his work to complete. Bottom line of this, in case you are online and have me on your messenger list and feel like talking or even saying a small hi, ping me. I am online, always. If you are the important one, I will reply back. All this is needed in case I don't wanna be too busy.
Of course I might have marked myself as busy, so that the status message does the talking for the ones you wanna avoid. Because for the ones I want to talk to, I talk to on the phone ;) because its all about being connected.