instant messaging

a.k.a. IM -or- IMing -or- instant message

A technology that gives users the ability to identify people online and exchange messages with them in real time.

Instant messaging is considered more spontaneous than e-mail or chat rooms, and you can even surf the Web together while having a real-time text conversation at the same time. The instant messaging system alerts you whenever somebody on your "list" is online and trying to contact you via your computer; you can then initiate a chat session with that person and talk or type text messages back and forth.

There are several competing instant messaging services, and unfortunately, there's no standard; the people you want to "instant message" with must use the same IM system that you use. Another downside is that instant messaging is not yet designed for secure use.

Historical perspective: Early instant messaging programs include CUSeeMe, ICQ, and AOL Instant Messenger, also known as AIM. By 2010, instant messaging over the Web was in sharp decline in favor of messaging features on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The most popular IM platforms, such as AIM, closed in 2017, and Windows Live Messenger merged into Skype. By 2018, most instant messaging takes place on messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber, which by 2014 had more users than social networks.

See also : ICQ  acronym  text message  SMS  shorthand  
NetLingo Classification: Net Software