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Chapter 12. Chatting and Conferencing wi... > Tips from the Windows Pros: Extendin...

Tips from the Windows Pros: Extending Your Chat Community

If you spend a lot of time working at your computer, you may find that messaging is a powerful and effective tool for communicating with colleagues, clients, family, and friends. Messaging is much more immediate than email, yet much less intrusive and demanding than the telephone. I use messaging on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and colleagues all over the country.

Although messaging is free, it costs the providers big money to develop and run. Why do they pay to make this a free service? Well, if you haven't noticed yet, these services are tied into their manufacturers' other ventures. For example, AOL Instant Messenger (IM) displays a constant parade of advertisements for AOL and other products, and occasionally, a video ad with loud audio accompaniment. (I immediately shut it down when it pulls this on me—this is totally inappropriate behavior for a program used in the workplace.) Microsoft's Messenger forces you to sign up for Passport and not so subtly steers you toward using Hotmail, MSN, and other Microsoft services, where you'll again be barraged with advertising that Microsoft collects on.


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