There are many free internet instant messaging services today. Some popular ones are Whatsapp, Hangout, iMessage, Line, Facebook Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Telegram, and even Skype counts as one, too.
Since smart devices have become a necessity of our daily life, those services have grown widely. Most users are using two or more instant messaging services at once, not because we have a lot of friends, but because our friends might use different type of smartphones or live in different countries.
Some instant messaging services are only available under selected smart devices, such as iMessage are excursive for Apple iPhone, iPad. Also in few counties, some instant messaging services are blocked by local officials, and a good example is currently Line are unavailable in China.
|photo by Álvaro Ibáñez|
E-mail is like letters, and internet instant messaging services are close to text messages, or conversations over phones.
One main difference between emails and instant messaging is that we would know if the recipient reads the messages or not. We know the email is on its way, because we hear the flying-away sound. However, there is no way for us to know if the recipient reads the email or not. With the instant messaging, we can know when the recipient reads the message. Of course, one shouldn’t use instant messaging for everything, because that would be very annoying. The guideline is for things that you want to call, but not in such hurry to get a reply. You can consider using instant messaging for the job. What my mom does is that for any small things she wants to know, but not right away, such as, “ what’s the dinner for next Sat?” she will drop me an iMessage, and whenever I get time, I can reply.
Another issue needs to take notice is that, while we always have copies of all sent emails, instant messaging services don’t keep all your conversation history. For things you need the I-send-it proof in the future, send it with emails. And you could always follow up with an instant messaging to the recipient to inform him/her that the email is on its way. Almost like in the old days, we called our friends to watch out for coming posts or packages.
Those instant messaging services are just another way to get people closer, and if use them wisely, the 21st century will be the time when the family can finally stay close despite the physical distance between them.
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