AIM is new form of discussion

By Christine Blom
November 12, 2004

Whether it is 3 a.m. or 3 p.m., college students, even business executives, across the country are “signing on” to instant messenger.

AIM, short for AOL Instant messenger, is a clever device that helps people to keep in touch with the click of a mouse. Within seconds, people can have a full-blown conversation about what happened at some killer party the night before or how they did on their last calculus exam.

“I talk to a lot more people than I normally would,” Kelly James, senior art major, said. “Sometimes you just want to say ‘hi’ or ‘what’s up’ without getting into a deep conversation with someone you aren’t that close to.”

This recent development in technology started in 1998 when America Online started to take over the internet world. According to the New York Times, “nearly one-third of American adults” are taking part in this instant phenomenon.

This free application has revolutionized communication because it can be used 24/7, there is no waiting like in e-mail. E-mail, as well as instant messenger, is used by college students in order to communicate with people.

E-mail is used widely across college campuses especially for handing in assignments to reduce the chance of having a paper lost, ask professors questions about things that people are too embarrassed to ask in front of a large lecture group, or just in place of writing a letter.

Though the discovery of this new form of technology is great, some feel as if it makes conversations and relationships impersonal. James said, “I feel like it can be impersonal because sometimes feelings can become misconstrued and people are easily misunderstood.”

Some tend to disagree that AIM is just as personal, if not more so.

“I don’t think it makes you impersonal,” Lauren Smart, sophomore pre-med major, said. “Sometimes instant messaging is even better than having a face-to-face conversation because it makes in-depth conversations less awkward.”

Instant messenger has revolutionized the way Generation X communicates. If people do not want to talk to others on their buddy list, they simply put up an away message. This gives viewers the hint that their so-called “buddy” does not want to be bothered. This is sometimes preferred by college students because then they know where their friends are, what they are doing and if it is a good time to call or not.

Some may believe that instant messaging is a phase or that it is not a good way to communicate. The New York Times tends to disagree. According to the Times, many corporate operations such as Wall Street and the U.S. Navy are using this device to expedite decisions that could take much longer if they were only using e-mail or cell phones.

While college dorms are still the place where “IM-ing” is the most common, this generation continues to flourish and entering the corporate world, instant messaging is bound to be seen more frequently in the work place.

Impersonal or not, the invention of the instant messenger has changed how businesses and students communicate with friends, family and colleagues.

Posted to the web by Paul Nasella

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Christine Blom

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