"Are You There?"

by Vicki Todd

Being the sophisticated, technologically advanced woman that I am, I knew I would love Instant Messaging. What a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, especially across continents and time zones. Commonly known as IM (pronounced: eye-em), this advanced technology gives users the ability to identify people online and to exchange messages in real time (instantly). Referred to by many as the "coolest way to communicate online since e-mail," IM typically works like this: The instant messaging system lets you know when somebody on your "buddy list" is online and alerts you if your buddy is trying to contact you via your computer; you can then initiate a chat session with that person and type text messages back and forth.

Instant messaging is considered more spontaneous than e-mail, more personal than chat rooms, and you can even surf the Web together while having a real-time text conversation. I can talk to several people at once, surf the web, and drink my coffee or wine (depending on what time of day it is) all at the same time.

There is some standard IM lingo that must be learned to shorten the typing time and speed up the conversation. A few good ones to know are:

404 I haven't a clue
ADN Any day now
B4N Bye for now
BRB Be right back
FOMCL Falling off my chair laughing
IGP I gotta pee
JK Just Kidding
KWIM Know what I mean?
LY Love ya
PITA Pain in the ass
SOT Short on time
TTFN Ta-Ta for now
WAYD What are you doing?

There are millions more--if you want to explore, check out: IM lingo at http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid40_gci211776,00.html

There are several instant messaging services available, and unfortunately, there's no standard; the people you want to IM with must use the same system that you use. Sherri got AOL, which is what I have, and a couple times a week we get to chat. I usually start out by sending "Are you there?" and depending on how much time she has we get about a half hour of "catching up" in.

I was exploring IM the other day and discovered that I could sign up for hotmail and get the Microsoft IM free. I registered an account for myself, since my husband was already using hotmail. I was vtroos@hotmail.com and Brad was simply BradRoos@hotmail.com. It just took a few minutes of my time and voila! I could now communicate with my hubby and all my hotmail friends too!

The day after I registered my new account, I noticed that Brad was online just after lunchtime.

Vicki hey babe what's up

Brad: BRB (be right back)

Typical Brad, no time to talk. That night I IM'd Sherri, my friend Dannette, my Sister, and my Mom all at the same time--wow, was I cool! I was now the IM queen. The next morning, I noticed Brad was online again at work.

Vick: Hey baby, lonely?

Brad: Yes, but got to get to work

Vicki: Oh come on!

Brad: TTYL (talk to you later)

Didn't really think anything of it; Brad's typical emails are only one or two words long, so why would his IM messages be any different. However, I was impressed with his knowledge of IM lingo. I would have to ask him where he picked that up. A couple days later, Brad went off to Korea on business and I found myself IM'ing several people simultaneously again that night. The kids in bed, a glass of wine, and IM, that's all I need. Once again, Brad logged on. This time I was going to make him respond.

Vicki: Miss me?

Brad: Why?

Vicki: TOY (thinking of you)

Brad: I can't think of you, what do you look like?

Vicki: Well...I'm Blonde, sexy and am in need of some Love!

Brad: Wow what kind of love?

Vicki: The kind you should pay for

Brad: I'm not like that

Vicki: Too bad, you're missing out

Vicki: OK How's Korea? Cold? Need me to warm you?

Brad: Korea?! I'm in Holland

Vicki: Why do you want me to speak Dutch?

Brad: Do you speak Dutch?

Vicki: #@&^% *&$%^

Brad: Very funny

Vicki: Clayton PITA (pain in the ass)

Brad: Who's Clayton? Is that good or bad?

Vicki: Your son, dummy and that's not good

Brad: I have two daughters and am not married

Vicki: Is this Brad Roos?!

Brad: Yes, this is Brad Roos and I live in Holland

Vicki: What is your hotmail address?

Brad: BradRoos@hotmail.com

Vicki: Humm there has been a big mistake! I'm sorry I thought I was talking to my husband, that would also be Brad Roos, but he's in Korea.

To make a long IM story short, I spent the next twenty minutes trying to explain to a stranger that I thought I was IM'ing my husband (who's hotmail address turned out to be btroos@hotmail.com). I don't think he bought my story, for I started getting some pretty racy emails until I blocked Dutch Brad Roos from my system!

A word to the wise: Do you know who you are IM'ing out there?

Are you sure?

© 2003 Vicki Todd and The Rebel Housewife, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

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