In this time and age, in a world where people are always looking for an easier and faster way to connect with friends, family, acquaintances and coworkers, technology is the solution. Although it takes away the intimacy of talking face-to-face with someone, and is a totally faceless way of communicating. Instant messaging is one of the main ways that people connect with each other, especially among high school and college students. It is fast, efficient because it is all right there in type.
There are several popular messaging programs out there such as American Online Instant Messanger, Yahoo messenger, Microsoft Network messenger, iChat, Gaim and the popular networking site MySpace even has its own messaging program now. There are also a wide variety of open-source messengers available.
AOL seems to be the most popular among students because it is easy to download and almost everyone else has it. Andrew Smith, senior liberal arts major, said, “It was about eight years ago [that i started using AIM], beginning in high school. It’s what I knew was around. Everyone else I knew used AOL at the time so it made sense to use one of their (AOL’s) programs.” This seems to be a popular response. Most people use it because all of their friends have it.
On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Dignen, senior graphic design major and iChat user, said, “iChat on Macs does not cut out on you like AIM does so frequently. It is better than AIM, or any other chat programs for that matter, because there is no dial up; it loads automatically.”
Unlike the other instant messangers out there, Gaim is a totally different kind of messaging service. The company’s website describes it as, “a multi-protocol instant messaging client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM and ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, SILC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, Lotus Sametime and Zephyr networks.”
The website goes on to describe it as a way to log onto all of your different messaging programs at once and chat with friend on each different one simultaneously.
Gary Wilpizeski, junior computer science major, said, “AIM is the most widespread and popular, but Gaim is the most sensible alternative because it’s free and can support multiple operating systems.”
Instant messaging sits only second to cell phone usage and text messaging in the United States. As of February 2006, there are an estimated 204,067,434 wireless service subscribers in the United States alone. It is also estimated that over 60 million teenagers now have cell phones and take them everywhere they go. These cell phone statistics should be a good indicator of how many people in America use online chat services. line.