Real-time communication takes place with instant messaging chat, a technological innovation first offered by the largest email providers. In the years since, additional bells and whistles have been added to these applications so that users can send videos, files, sounds, and even web links to one another. Computers aren't even needed as advances in technology now allow users to instant message (IM) with each another using mobile devices. Typing on a keyboard isn't needed, either, as some applications have features that let users actually talk to one another using voice over internet protocol (VOIP) technology. Industry experts know that more innovations are on the way as major social networking sites incorporate IM into their sites for the convenience of members. Another innovation helps users with wi-fi to locate others on their buddy lists. What began as a quick and easy communications tool has become an advanced communications tool that still allows real-time conversations. It'll be interesting to see what new innovations will be added to instant messaging chat applications in the years to come.
Not surprisingly, teenagers were among the first to jump on the IM bandwagon. The application let the kids have conversations with several friends at the same time which was a lot more fun than talking to only one person on an old-fashioned telephone. After downloading the appropriate software, the user set up an account by choosing a user name. Then a buddy or contact list of friends who have the same IM provider can be created. The application includes a feature that tells the user which people on the list are online and available for an instant messaging chat. With fingers flying over the keyboard, a teenager can carry on several conversations, quickly reading and responding to each message that pops up in the window. The friends can also get together, virtually speaking, in a chat room, so that each participant can read the messages to and from all the others. Abbreviations quickly came into vogue such as LOL for "laugh out loud" and JK for "just kidding." Some internet sites provide lists of IM abbreviations so that parents can know what the kids are saying to one another. Once the conversation ends and the users log off, the software client deletes the temporary file from the server. With new software applications, users are able to IM friends who have a different provider than they do. This innovation has added to the popularity of IM.
The ease of instant messaging chat soon caught on and it wasn't long before business professionals were utilizing the technology to have real time conversations with colleagues and clients. Because of the way the software functions, IM is quicker than email. Once the connection between two computers is established, the software client handles the movement of the messages. Because the messages aren't routed through a server, the IMs are sent and received more quickly than email messages can be sent from and delivered to inboxes. This makes it easier to communicate with coworkers who are in a different location. For example, a sales account representative can have a quick conversation with a colleague in the engineering department regarding a particular product. Members of a training team can have a quiet instant messaging chat about logistical details without interrupting the workshop speaker.
Not surprisingly, when business professionals began using IM as a communications tool, the casual nature of the technology changed. It's one thing for teenagers to use made-up or too-cute screen names and have funny avatars or photos linked to their accounts. But business people need to present a professional image even to their colleagues. Instead of crazy names and avatars, professionals should use their own names. Any photos that are used should also present a professional image. Industry experts have also come up with etiquette guidelines for instant messaging chat users. Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). This is good advice for anyone using IM to communicate with others. Good manners always make a good impression.
Etiquette experts provide specific instant messaging chat guidelines for users. These often are similar to etiquette guidelines for telephone calls. For instance, users should identify themselves to recipients unless the screen name clearly does so. The person initiating the conversation also is advised to ask the recipient if this is a good time to chat instead of launching into a message. One important rule is to avoid typing in all capital letters. Both in IMs and emails, all uppercase lettering is considered the equivalent of shouting. Additionally, fancy, super-sized fonts and bright colors are for teenagers and casual messages. Business professionals are advised to stick to a common font type and size such as twelve-point Times New Roman. The recipient, whether a colleague or a client, shouldn't be distracted from the message by colors and curlicues; additionally, these can be difficult to read. Another tip is to be concise and to the point. Usually there's a limit to how many characters can be included in one message so this is not the venue for complicated questions and lengthy explanations. Of more importance, however, is the security of IMs. Teenagers should be cautioned against giving out personal information on IM. Business professionals also need to guard against what is written in an instant messaging chat unless they know for sure that encryption software is protecting the messages. IMs are a fun way for friends to "talk" to each other and a quick, quiet way for business professionals to communicate. Following the proper etiquette and being careful about security will keep the experience a positive one.
Good Chat RoomsThere are good chat rooms where people can log into and enjoy a satisfying conversation with people of similar interests but that live half way around the world. The marvel of cyber chats is the immediate ability to access the web address of someone otherwise unknown and strike up an amiable conversation with them without having to leave the comfort of home. There are many types of interactive chats that are available including those for singles, teens, seniors, and everyone in between. There are specialty sites that breakdown human interest categories such as hobbies, careers, health, and ethnicity. Other online offerings include those interested in faith, country loyalties and political networking. Among all these interests there are also the clean and not so clean chat rooms from which to choose which make it necessary for a user to carefully check out any room he or she wishes to enter.
For first time users or for those who are not as experienced in the world of cyber interaction, there are a few tips that can make entering this arena safe, fun and rewarding. A good rule of thumb when entering any public chat room is to stay there! If a user is invited into a private chat, it is best to decline since it is dubious who is behind the invitation. As in any scenario in the real or virtual world, there is safety in numbers. Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone who enters bad or good chat rooms are typically strangers and it is good to leave it that way. Giving out personal information including a person's residence, telephone number, real name, city or even state is not a good idea in a public chat room. It's best to refrain from giving out personal email addresses as well since smart con artists and other characters may be able to find a way to trace the sender.
Never, ever meet anyone from an interactive site in person without first having someone come along for the meeting that is scheduled in a public place. In fact, law enforcement experts suggest that no one underage should ever meet anyone outside of Internet chats no matter what the invitation. Sly visitors that enter clean chat rooms have been known to cause harm to an unsuspecting responder. Always only open files sent from known senders since some files can contain viruses as well as bad material. Only those who are known and trusted by a recipient should ever have their files opened. Sometimes a user will be logged into a good chat room but still find that they are being harassed by some obnoxious chatter. In this case, using available Internet tools are necessary to provide protection from these types of people.
Preference settings that can be activated in many rooms such as filtering, ignoring invitations, and blocking users are commonly available. If a user is being harassed by unwanted comments or nasty words, most good chat rooms have the capability within their preferences to filter out specific words. This can help with cursing and dirty language that can be prevalent within some networks. Those who have taken part in even clean chat rooms will find that they will receive invitations to enter into conversation with others. The invitation to join a certain room can be ignored by setting a preference that automatically activates that response which saves time and hassles for the user. With the amount of users in good chat rooms there are bound to be some who may need to be ignored for various reasons.
Blocking users is another useful tool that can be activated if a recipient decides he or she does not want to accept comments. This is very helpful when comments get completely out of hand and a person wishes to absolutely refuse another's conversation. Users that have a really bad experience with another participant can report abuses of the privilege to the service department of many clean chat rooms. It is wise also to copy and print really nasty comments from others in case verification is needed. Even with all the necessary precautions to keep in mind, networking with others through the various chatter options can be an interesting way to spend a few minutes of the day. The benefits can far outweigh the negatives by offering new friendships, possible romance, fresh insights, helpful information and encouraging comments.
A case in point are Christian networks that are geared toward relationships based on lifestyles and perspectives from a biblical perspective which have proven to be a real source of support and discipleship to others. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14) There are many clean chat rooms that are free and easy to join that may prove to be a daily gathering place for many believers who are part of the Church at large. The need for good chat rooms is growing among the millions of families that prefer to keep Christ at the center of even their cyber chat experience and that need is being met by sensitive online companies.