Do you remember, long ago and far away, when you could only IM one person as a time and only if they had the same software? Ah…. those were the days. Ok, they were BAD days, but days they were!
A New Age Dawns
Someone, at some point, said… "Hey! I have more than one person I want to talk to via Instant Message. We should build software that will allow users to have conversations with more than one person… simultaneously!" What?!? The deuce, you say! More than one person?!? At the same time?!? Yes, it was a radical and scary thought at the time, but it has, like many radical and scary things (such as parallel parking) become the norm.
Time Marches Onward
IM began to improve in leaps and bounds. Sending in different fonts became available, smiley lists were published, an entire language based on phonetics and keystrokes became the hip-speak of teens. I still remember my mother’s anguish when she saw a note my sister had written to her friend in this weird new language. "She’s illiterate!" my mother cried. I did my best to explain, but its pretty hard to explain keyboard shortcuts to someone who still – TO THIS DAY – backs everything up to 3.5 floppies. :O
Today and the Many Contacts of Messenger
Many people will use Messenger and not even realize that there are many types of buddies they can have and communicate with – from Email only buddies to combination passport / mobile buddies. Here is a short list:
- Messenger contact:: This is the type of contact we are all used to and they generally have an email address with one of these domains: @hotmail, @msn, @passport, or (new!) @live.
- Mobile contact :: Many people know that their contacts can add mobile numbers to their own accounts, but did you know that you yourself can add a mobile number to your contact? Yah. True fact.
- Yahoo contact:: Yup. If you missed the last gajillion posts about it, Yahoo and Messenger share interop.
- EASI Passport contact:: Lot’s of people don’t know about this one. So, you have a friend who has an email that they adore (like maybe email@example.com) and they want to use it for Messenger. Fine! They can go and sign up for an EASI passport using their really super cool email address and voila! They can now use Messenger and you can chat it up all you want.
- Offline contact:: Contact is offline? No problem! Send them an offline message and they will get it the next time they log in – or sooner, if they are just hiding ;).
- Web Messenger contact:: If your contact is out in the world, travelin’ the planet, they can log into most any web accessible computer kiosk and access Messenger via the Web. You can then IM them and tell them how jealous you are of their country-hopping lifestyle. 🙂
Wendy The Mighty