With the advent of the Internet, a lot of people are finding different ways of getting in touch. One of these is through Instant Messaging of IM. Instant Messaging is an online way of communicating with another person, whether within your vicinity, country or even across the ocean. Sometimes, you can even IM a family member within the same house if you have different computers. It practically replaces the telephone by way of communication.
But what exactly does Instant Messaging have to offer? It basically offers you the chance to “speak” with someone (whether familiar or not) real-time through the computer and the Internet. They key to Instant messaging is the “buddy list” system which is basically the collective record of all your friends who are in the same IM service. You will get alerts when any one of them becomes online or offline.
With that ability, you can share files and photos, play games and send emails from within one program. Newer programs now incorporate the live video feed feature with the help of microphones, speakers and web cameras (webcams). Most IM programs are also offering reduced “phone” rates when you link your phone to your computer and you get to make and answer your phone calls through the Instant Messaging service.
The fact that it’s very easy to download and install in your computer makes it less of a hurdle to get into. You just have to decide which among the many instant messaging programs out there do your friends most commonly use. For example, if majority of your friends are into Yahoo Messenger, then downloading and using Yahoo Messenger for yourself will solve the compatibility issue. Although there are recent developments which have partially solved the compatibility issue when Yahoo and MSN, two of the biggest IM services around, allowed their users interconnectivity access between the two services. Meaning if you’re a Yahoo user and you have friends using the MSN Service, then you can add them to your buddy list in Yahoo and see them online without having to open a separate MSN messenger window.
Understandably, with all the features that you need to familiarize yourself with, it may get confusing sometimes especially if you’re a “newbie” or a beginner to Instant Messaging. Never fear because there are almost always answers to your questions and concerns provided for by the developers of the Instant Messaging program.
How do you get help?
Let’s tackle this question step by step. First, downloading and installing the software may already raise some questions. You may find your answers from the website that you were downloading the software from. They usually have a line that says, “If your download doesn’t start, click here” or something to that effect. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of a slow internet connection or the way that your computer is set-up.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed your choice of Instant Messaging program, it usually starts with a getting started tutorial. This will help you get familiar with all the features that your IM service is offering you. If you’re new to IM, then taking the time to go through with this step will be most beneficial to you.
Also, with this tutorial, you will be able to set-up your speakers, microphone, camera should you wish to do so. This will ensure that your IM program is configured to run smoothly with the peripherals that you have on hand.
At any time during your use of the software, you may also press the F1 key on your keyboard to access the Help menu provided by the software. This usually includes all the topics that you may have questions with. Alternately, you can also click on the “Help” button on your menu from any of the windows of your messenger.
The program’s website is also a good source of help information. They usually have an FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions section which outlines most of the popular questions asked and their corresponding answers. There is usually a search engine tool that allows you to search through their database for your specific keyword. This is helpful if you’re not familiar with some of the topics listed in the help outline.
And if all these tricks don’t work, you can always ask someone from any of the forums and groups on the Internet. You can also choose to email the software developer directly from their website. The “Contact Us” link or “Customer Service” option should be enough to get you going.