Definition: Defining the Meaning of Instant Messenger
Instant messaging (IM) is defined as a type of online chat which offers real-time text transmission over the Internet. A LAN messenger operates in a similar way over a local area network. Short messages are typically transmitted bi-directionally between two parties, when each user chooses to complete a thought and select "send". Some IM applications can use push technology to provide real-time text, which transmits messages character by character, as they are composed. More advanced instant messaging can add file transfer, clickable hyperlinks, Voice over IP, or video chat.
Online Instant Messenger Programs
Using today's computer coupled to the Internet or world wide web it is possible to IM (instant message), e-mail, and use chat rooms to communicate with friends and family virtually anywhere in the world. It is even possible to communicate with complete strangers anywhere on the globe who may happen to share the same interests as a person from the home, office, car or even Internet cafes where it is possible to rent computer time by the hour. This brand new form of communicating has altered the day to day lives of billions of people.
Instant messengers or IM's are generally free down loadable programs that enable you to communicate via text (typing), voice, video (webcam) or even a combination of all three. All the major and most popular instant messenger programs, are sponsored by advertising.
By downloading an instant messenger chat program and connecting a microphone and webcam to your computer it is possible to both see and hear each other no matter where in the world you both are located. This makes for an extremely useful means of communicating with friends and family both near and far, especially when it costs you nothing more than your standard Internet connection. That's right IM's are free and will even work over a dial up Internet connection, though cable offers slightly superior quality in terms of video speed.
Our lives have been changed so much by the latest communication revolution that there are chains of thought that are concerned about a persons isolation and detachment from the physical world due to the addictive nature of computer communication. Another problem that people advocate is that by using the mask of a computer and no real live interaction going on, instant messaging provides the perfect atmosphere for multiple personality identities. However on the other hand there are people who believe this new form of communication actually expands ones social circles.
Many of today's students feel that because instant messaging allows you to converse for free, anywhere, anytime of day, they have managed to keep in touch with far more people than they would have via the telephone or visits to one anther's homes.
Instant messaging has been predicted as being the logical successor to cell phone use.
This leads us to the question, does today's online communication methods, in particular instant messaging, e-mail, and chat rooms, destroy relationships or help them develop and mature? Are relationships hindered or flourished from this type of new environment
One fear with many of today's parents is that their children will fall into their own virtual online world of communication and completely shut themselves off from the real world around them.
IM, or instant messaging, is one of the latest communication methods that has literally caused a craze around the world. Instant messaging is practically free, quick, and extremely easy to use.
The most popular instant messaging down-loadable programs available online today include:
- Yahoo Instant Messenger
- AIM from AOL Instant Messenger
- Windows Live Messenger
- A recent addition from Google named Google Talk
- ICQ Messenger, the largest multi lingual IM community online.
- MySpaceIM Instant Message any of your MySpace friends at any time.
- Jabber Ad free alternative to commercial IM services.
- Meebo instant message from absolutely anywhere.
- Trillian all in One Instant Messenger supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, MySpaceIM, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, AND IRC (Internet Relay Chat)
Most messengers allow you to chat via text or voice, view by live webcam, send links and computer files including pictures person to person or person to groups of people, and even draw pictures or diagrams via a shared whiteboard.
Becoming addicted to IM and other forms of communication is becoming much more common and in fact you can be hooked on IM without realizing the extent to which it has taken over your life.
A typical scenario starts out with a person downloading the IM program, usually a friend or relative has requested they "get MSN" or why not "download Yahoo" so we can keep in touch. After all instant messaging is a very convenient way to keep in touch with friends from school and family. However soon the person finds themselves signing in more and more often, until you find that the first thing you do every morning is sign onto your instant messaging program to see what everyone else is doing today.
Instant messaging (IM'ing) is now the most commonly used form of communication today, yet online chatting didn't start with the AOL instant messenger script. Instead it all started with electronic mail, e-mail as we now know it.
Quick Facts: Instant Messenger
- Parallel to instant messaging were early online chat facilities, the earliest of which was Talkomatic (1973) on the PLATO system.
- IM allows effective and efficient communication, allowing immediate receipt of acknowledgment or reply.
- Non-IM types of chat include multi-cast transmission, usually referred to as "chat rooms"
- Modern, Internet-wide, GUI-based messaging clients as they are known today, began to take off in the mid-1990s with PowWow, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messenger.
- Early instant messaging programs were primarily real-time text, where characters appeared as they were typed.
- Facebook Chat is a form of instant messaging, and Twitter can be thought of as a Web 2.0 instant messaging system.
- Users sometimes make use of internet slang or text speak to abbreviate common words or expressions to quicken conversations or reduce keystrokes.