Spend Time with Family & Friends Using Instant Messaging

Have video conversations, play games, and send friendly nudges to anyone in the world, for free!
You are reading this article on the internet, using a computer. Well, that's all you need to spend valuable time with family and friends anywhere in the world. You can type instant text messages, talk to one another using the microphone and speakers you probably already have included with your computer, and play games like checkers and chess with one another. If you add a web camera for under $20, you can even enjoy live video conversations with your loved ones. Once you learn Instant Messaging, use it to also share files and photos or remotely access a friend's computer to provide assistance. Instant Messaging is a very powerful and feature-rich tool.

Popular Messenger Programs
Downloading the free instant messaging programs is easy. Click on the links we have provided below. Look for the download button. Once you left-click on the button, follow the instructions. It will generally take about 5 - 10 minutes to complete the installation. If you do not have a preference for any of the following providers, we recommend Windows Live Messenger. It offers the most robust Live Video Chat features, including full screen video and allows users to contact friends on Yahoo! Messenger as well. We have listed the programs in order of what we see as the most feature rich and easiest to use.
Windows Live Messenger
Yahoo! Messenger
AOL Instant Messenger
Google Talk

Access Multiple Messenger Programs
The following services allow you to access many of the popular Messenger Programs from one location. This is useful if you have family and friends who use different Instant Messaging Programs. However, you will not be able to use videoconferencing features when using these multiple messaging program services. Also note that Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger users can contact each other without using one of the services listed below.

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Using Your Instant Messaging Program
Messaging programs can be customized to meet your needs. Review the properties you may want to change. Each messaging program is slightly different and the customizable properties often change with each new version of the software. You can access the properties from one of the menu bar drop-down lists in the program. Look for terms such as 'options' or 'preferences'. Here are some properties to consider:

  1. Decide whether you want your Messaging Program to automatically start each time you turn on your computer so you can see which friends are online or if you would prefer to manually sign-in to the program only when you want to use it.
  2. Decide whether you want to appear 'Online, 'Busy', or 'Offline'. Appearing 'Busy' or 'Offline' helps you avoid having your friends contact you when you don't have time to chat. Maybe you are busy with work but want to keep the program open because you want to chat with a particular family member or coworker if they come online.
  3. Decide whether you want to receive an alert every time a new friend comes online or if you only want to receive an alert when someone send you a message.
  4. Decide who you want to be able to contact you - do you want anybody or only certain contacts to reach you.

If you need additional help, visit the help pages for the popular Instant Messaging programs:
Windows Live Messenger Help
Yahoo! Messenger Help
AOL Instant Messenger Help
Google Talk Help
MySpaceIM Help

Help Others & Good Luck

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