Fast talking

September 05, 2006|by ALEXANDRA CANTONE

OMG, brb, and ttyl are only a few terms used in IM lingo. IM means instant messaging. Teens, you already know this, but show this to your parents if they keep asking you why you're IMing your friends.

Instant messaging is one of the most popular ways of communicating between teens and some preteens. Most teens have switched from e-mail to IM because it's faster.

Faster communication is also the reason for IM lingo. Some of the most popular IM terms are OMG ("Oh my God"), brb ("Be right back"), ttyl ("Talk to you later" or "Totally"), nm ("Nothing much" or "Never mind"), lol ("Laugh out loud"), rotfl ("Rolling on the floor, laughing"), thx ("Thanks") and bi ("Bye").

Using abbreviations doesn't take as long as typing the whole words.

There are many different kinds of IM. Popular services are Yahoo messenger and MSN messenger, but the most popular is AIM - the instant-messaging service of America Online.


"I have noticed that most teens have been switching to IM because it's one of the coolest ways to communicate. It's faster and more efficient," says Lola Tijani, 11, of Greencastle, Pa. Many teens and preteens agree with Lola.

"IMing is becoming a more used accessory on the Internet rather than e-mails, most definitely," says Caitlin Way, 13, of Bedford, Pa. "You're actually talking to the person, live."

Caitlin says, "There are some pros and cons."

Most teens use AIM because it is fast and easy and free. All you have to do is sign on, type a short phrase and get an answer from a buddy. All in an instant.

"(It's) a quicker way to talk," says Angela Wische, 13, of Basking Ridge, N.J. Stephanie Iozzia, 13, of Hershey, Pa., agrees. She says, "IMing is instantaneous and easy to use!"

Instant messaging has become so popular that it is even on cell phones.

"It's becoming a big thing because now it's on teens' cell phones," says Haleigh Bonner, 14, of Greencastle, Pa. "I think e-mailing is only good when your friends don't have AIM."

However, it's not very common for a preteen and even more uncommon for a teen not to have AIM. Teens like to stay in touch, and IMing is the best way today. As for tomorrow's communication technology, well, something better might come along.

"I think instant messaging is just a phase in the whole revolution of technology," Caitlin says. "It's like boy bands, bell bottom jeans, and black-and-white television. Things that will one day be what every thing else will be: a craze in the past."

IMing vs. e-mailing

IMing is similar to e-mailing - for both, you type your message into a window on the computer and then send it. But e-mail is more like the U.S. Postal Service - you write a letter and send it. Later, the recipient responds.

Instant messaging is like a phone call - you talk to your friend and can see each other's words on the screen (even back to the beginning of the conversation), and, when you say goodbye, the conversation disappears from the computer's memory.

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