Instant messaging is a technology which enables you to send and receive messages almost instantaneously across a internet connection.
Instant messaging is much faster than e-mail. Instant messaging offers the promise of instant gratification which is so desirable in today’s world.
Instant messaging is rapidly replacing the telephone as the primary method of “reaching out and touching someone.”
How Instant Messaging Works
Most instant messaging involves a server and a number of clients.
The instant messaging servers are typically run my major corporations, such as AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, ICQ, and Google.
To use these instant messaging servers to connect to your friends, you typically have to install an instant messaging client on your computer.
There are many instant messaging networks. To start, it is best to pick the network that the majority of your friends use.
Instant Messaging Software
Each instant messaging network provider creates its own instant messaging software. These applications are free and are usually designed only to connect to one instant messaging network.
The most popular basic instant messaging clients are:
- AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)
- Yahoo Messenger
- MSN Messenger
- Google Talk
Enhanced Instant Messaging Software
Many users desire additional features not available in the basic instant messaging clients.
For these users, many vendors and open source software development teams create instant messaging clients with additional features, such as the ability to connect to multiple instant messaging networks and the ability to encrypt messages between users.