instant messaging (IM) - another one of the older forms of "live" communication, IM is text-based real-time communication between two (or more) individuals in a private chat environment. Originally available only on online services like AOL, current IM programs are web based with "buddy lists" that alert you when someone you know (who uses the same IM program) is online. Many IM programs allow file transfers between buddies, leave "away" messages, and typing notifications. Some can be accessed with a PDA or cell phone.
Instant messaging programs are a synchronous communication tools; they let you communicate with others at the same time. They are the computer equivalent of telephone communication - typing replaces talking.
Advantages - immediacy; some degree of privacy; can be recorded and reviewed.
Disadvantages - sometimes lends a false sense of intimacy; can be difficult to schedule; can be recorded and shared.
Educational uses - virtual office hours, scholarly or student collaborative communication
free instant messaging programs
- the most commonly used single protocol messengers
- multiple protocol messengers let you use more than one IM service at the same time. For example,
- comparison chart of instant messengers
- Groove Workspace: Instant Messaging Grows Up, Syllabus Magazine, August 16, 2004
- "Colleges reach out via instant messaging," Washington Times, June 24, 2004
- "The Impact of Instant Messaging on College Student's Lives" - Penn State student group project report (April 2004)
- "College Students and Instant Messaging: An Analysis of Chatting, Flirting, & USing Away Messages" - Stanford University Student project report (June 2003)
- Instant Messaging - Collaborative Tool or Educator’s Nightmare (2003)
- Instant Messaging in Higher Education - A New Faculty Development Challenge (2002)
- Linguistics of Instant Messaging - American Weekly (February 2005) - study by AU linguistics professor Naomi Baronof how college students use instant messaging finds surprisingly few spelling and grammatical mistakes.