The magic of messaging

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WASSUP? It is all about sounding good while chatting
WASSUP? It is all about sounding good while chatting

The status message on your instant messenger says a lot

Instant messaging (IM) has become very much a part of our daily lives. It has become an integral part of personal expression online and the status messages we use are a nifty way of gauging the level of that expression.Today almost every IM client offers a choice of status messages that you can have for yourself. It all began initially as a way to let everyone know whether you are available to chat or not, but today it has grown way beyond that. The trick with online conversations has always been attracting that click that begins the chat session. In the early days of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) it all depended on the nickname you set for yourself. Operating with a chatroom concept from where you picked people for conversations, it was imperative that you had a fancy nickname. To make it worse, you had a limit for the number of characters a nick could have. Thus in extremely crowded chatrooms nicks ran out and you ended up sometimes using pure gibberish, for example "Ajmh% & yt". The IM concept though works differently. Everyone has a list of people for conversation but again there is a catch. With the proliferation of broadband Internet at offices and homes, almost everyone is online all the time. Thus status messages have had to go beyond the simple "Available" or "Busy".An IM client today such as Google Talk offers space to put in a line to describe your status and that has gotten the creativity going. "Escape velocity needed, the pull is getting stronger,", "Laziness is nothing more than a habit of resting,", a swear word, guffaws of laughter and verses in a multitude of languages, you name it, there it is. The best I have seen so far is one that just said "Offline!" In Google Talk, you can set your status message to a music track that you are currently playing on your computer. You can even choose to have your music tastes be part of a webpage that analyses music trends. Another new trick is putting a link to an online video on sites such as YouTube or Google Video. ANAND SANKAR




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