Advantages Easy to signup; easy to use; keep in touch for free; some nice features
Disadvantages Some features exculsive to US & Canada; fundamental problems with instant messaging
If you’re reading this then you are on the internet- why? The internet was once the hideaway of geeks across the land, but now we all use in for this, that and tother (namely a little known site called ciao.com). So what on earth do we use it for? Shopping yes, researching yes, but the main reason for internet usage is communication, through emails, discussionforums, chat rooms and of course instant messaging programmes.An instant messaging programme is a programme that enables you to set up a mini chat room with yourself and a friend, or friends. You type in a message and it pops up on their screen, they type a reply and it pops up on your screen. Quick, simple and “cool”. By far and away the most popular such programme is MSN Messenger and I must confess I waste many hours MSNing (so I ought to be in a good position to write an op on it)!
Upon signing in to MSN Messenger (hereafter referred to as MSN) you will be greeted by a list of between 0 and 65 “contacts”. These contacts are your friends and they will either have a little red thing to the left of their name (whatever usually rather stupid name they choose to go by) meaning they’re offline, or a little green thing meaning they’re online and you can talk to them!Sending an instant message is easy; you simply right click on the name of an online contact and type the message. This is displayed in a little box and then you wait for a reply, which also appears in the box. A conversation ensues, be it exciting or otherwise, until either you’ve had enough and log off or you get disconnected. If your contact does this then you will receive a little message telling you that he/she is having networking problems and may not have received your last few messages. This roughly translates as your ex-friend has p*ssed off because you’ve bored them silly.
~The Advantages Of MSN Messenger~Firstly and foremostly it allows you to stay in touch with your friends for free; although any instant messenger can do this MSN is the one that your friends are most likely to have, as it is by far and away the most popular programme. I also failed to mention earlier that you can up to six contacts in one chat “room”, so you don’t have to type your gossip out in six separate boxes!
Then there are the nice little features when chatting itself. At the bottom of the box it tells you who is typing, so that you can avoid interrupting your friends. You can have different font types, colours and sizes and you can create little symbols (e.g. J makes a nice little smiley face, (f) a flower and (b) a pint of beer)! You can also send and receive files (and you get politely asked if you wish to receive them or not) and can engage in voice conversations if you have a microphone, although being as my microphone hasn’t been working for as long as I can remember then I can’t tell you how effective this is.Other options (outside of the chat box) include call a contact (only US or Can?), send a message to a mobile device (sadly I think this is now only available to people in the US or Canada), send an email and send an invitation to join a network game.
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