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Chapter 23. Using Windows Messenger to F... > Setting Up Windows Messenger - Pg. 268

Using Windows Messenger to Fire Off Instant Messages 268 What's All This About "Instant Messaging"? The Internet, once a craze itself, now goes through its own internal crazes. Java applets (mini- programs that run inside Web pages) were big for a while; portals (everything-including-the-kitchen- sink Web sites) were all the rage for a time; and MP3s (music files) continue to generate frenzies among certain copyright-challenged elements of the population. The big craze nowadays is something called instant messaging (usually abbreviated as IM by those in the know). Millions of people use it, and it has been estimated that nearly 200 million Netizens will be doing the instant messaging thing by 2002. What's the big whoop? It's the real-time conversation hook. If someone sees that you're online (there's special software that lets them know), they compose a quick note, ship it, and it pops up on your screen instantly (well, a few seconds later, anyway). You can then dash off a response, and it gets delivered immediately to your correspondent. Repeat to taste and voilà: an instant conversa- tion. Who's using instant messaging? At first, it seemed to be mostly those all-time champs of the gabfest world: teenagers. Now, however, many businesses have seen the benefits of instant messages, so they're jumping aboard, as well. And the simple fact that Microsoft chose to include its own instant messaging software--called Windows Messenger--in Windows XP tells you that this thing is getting pretty big. The next few sections show you how to set up and use Windows Messenger. Windows Wisdom