One of the things I find interesting about using IM, and specifically chatting with people who use pictures of themselves, is that you can so easily get confused about how they really feel. For example, if I open GTalk right now, I have a whole bunch of smiling faces with "Available" beside their names. The "Available" part is true, I'm sure. But the emotional context is completely missing. It looks like so-and-so is really excited that I'm about to completely break into what they were doing, as though they're willing me to type something. I know better!
In addition to a "Status" message, one really needs to be able to see a series of "Emotions", from straight-faced to don't-you-even-think-about-it to come-hither. Even better, use a picture that doesn't have you smiling, unless that's you're default state, in which case I don't want to talk to you anyway.