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Instant Messaging Makes You Think Faster

Want to feel years younger without hair coloring? Start instant messaging with friends, colleagues and family members. Get a cool picture or symbol for your Buddy Icon and start typing. Imagine your son’s surprise when he goes online to update his MySpacekeyboardfingers page and you see that he’s available on your Buddy List. It will be even funnier if it’s 1:30 a.m. and he’s wondering what the hell you’re doing up at the same time as him.

For the uninitiated, instant messaging allows you to type a message (in real time, as opposed to fake time?) to anyone on your buddy list whose status light indicates they are currently online. You need their instant messaging address and they need yours in order to engage in this instant reciprocal messaging.

AIMlogoSo your brother in law could be minding his own business (using Google to research baldness cures), when suddenly he gets an alert on his screen and a little text bubble pops up with a message from you. jabberLogo

You say something like, “Stop looking at internet porn and mow the lawn.”

Then he writes back, “If I was looking at porn, you think I would leave my Available indicator on so you could instant message me? Besides, minoxidil does not qualify as porn.”

Then you reply, “Okay, but remember, rogaine, no pain.”yahooLogo

And he replies, “Buzz off. See you for tennis on Sunday.”

Then the chat dialogue box disappears and the party is over. I look at my buddy list and see that his status now reads, “Don’t bug me.”

The “instant” quality is only instant if you can type fast. If you IM with a slow typist, you see a white text bubble that stays empty until the person finishes typing their message. If they are long-winded or slow typists, you can fall ageezermailchecksleep waiting for the reply to pop up. That’s onegoogletalkLogo reason teenagers have for years been text messaging in shorthand, with numbers that stand in for longer phrases and short-cuts such as, “u r 2 funny.” The advent of email brought about abbreviations such as LOL for laughing out loud, IMHO for in my humble opinion, BTW for by the way, or PROLLY for probably, so if you want to save some keyboard strokes, you might want to Google one of the many pages devoted to email abbreviations.

So what r u waiting 4? Get started this instant. Sign up for a free account with AOL, or Google Talk, JabberYahoo Messenger, or any of the others. And remember one very important tip. You don’t have to answer an instant message. Even if your status is “available,” you don’t have to reply. You can always just say no.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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