This is a system
for sending short "live" messages between users on the internet.
For those subscibed to a particular system, they can identify that a
contact is online, and send messages that will pop up on the screen,
which may get a rapid response. With instant messaging it is easier
to have an electronic conversation than with email, which more akin
to an exchange of letters. You can also use Instant Messaging ( see
ICQ below) to send (SMS) text messages
to mobiles phones.
In the business
context it can be used between colleagues and customers for quick or
urgent contact. You can also publish contact details on your website,
which invites the user to potentially instant reponse. Its a no cost
service, which is always useful.
the lack of compatibility between systems offered by the big ISPs and
Portals, the potential for non stop banter, and the negative impact
if communciations go unanswered. You can try it with: ICQ
(the leader). Or use one of the systems with most cross compatibility: