Getting Started with Instant Messaging
The 5 Types of IMs
The first step to choosing an IM client is determining your needs; whether you are looking to IM with a friend on a single client, or many friends on a variety of clients, this section will educate you on the 5 types of IM available.
- Single-Protocol IMs: The Most Popular
- Top 7 Multi-Protocol IMs
- 11 Best Web-Based Chat Clients
- Portable Instant Messengers
- Enterprise IMs
Read the Reviews
After choosing the type of IM that will suit your needs, you must decide which to use; while some might already have a good idea which client they will want to use, others might need some assistance. The IM reviews are a great way to learn more about a particular client and whether it was deemed user-friendly by our writers.
- The Best IMs of 2008: Our Readers Choose Their Favorites
- AIM 6.5 Alive with Fresh, New Features
- Simple Program Makes MySpaceIM Dull
- Slow But Pretty: Yahoo! Messenger for Vista
- MySpaceIM vs. Facebook Chat: Social IMs Compared
- iChat Sets Bar for Mac IM Users
- Almost Native: Yahoo! Messenger for Mac
- Adium 1.2 Stands Out Among Mac Messengers
Downloading and Installing Your IM
After you have chosen your ideal instant messenger, the next step is to download and install the client to your computer (or USB drive, if you have chosen a portable IM.) This process can take a few moments to complete but is vital to joining the IM community.
- AIM 7.3
- Digsby Download Guide
- Digsby Installation Guide
- Digsby Setup Guide
- Google Talk
- Windows Live Messenger
- Yahoo! Messenger
For new users who have chosen AOL Instant Messenger as their IM client, this section will illustrate how to use AIM's basic functions.
Facebook Chat Basics
For Facebook users, one of America's hottest social networking sites also doubles as a neat web-based IM client, too! Learn more about how to use Facebook Chat today!
Google Talk Basics
Come discover a new kind of IM client like only Google could create! Google Talk offers an exciting IM experience in a simple, easy-to-use IM client.
- Signing in to Google Talk
- How to Send Google Talk IMs
- Adding Contacts on Google Talk
- Google Talk Emoticons
Windows Live Messenger Basics
New users of Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) will appreciate this review of basic functions within their client.
Yahoo! Messenger Basics
Want to learn more about how to use your Yahoo! Messenger? New users, launch your IM experience with Yahoo! here.