In Block 1 Part 3 you met the idea of client–server communication. Which parts of an instant messaging session (as illustrated in Figure 3) are client–server communication, and which are not?
( figure 3 is an animation on the TU100 site. )
client – server communications:
- Checking which of the users friends are online is done through the server.
client – client communications:
- The conversation itself does not have to go via the server.
The quotation below is from a student at a face-to-face university who was interviewed about their use of IM. You will notice that the quotation refers to MSN, which was the name used at the time for the instant messaging application Windows Live Messenger.
There is a case for people being on MSN and being on it too long. You know, if you allow it to interfere with your coursework here and your work studies here, it can become … like you need to know when to stop and … like if you saw people coming up in your Messenger and you’re online. If you just made an attempt to always start off a conversation, you could be on it for always, without even knowing that time passed.
What are your views on instant messaging? Is it useful when you are studying, so that you can contact other students for help and support? Or is it too much of a distraction or interruption?
Give your views on instant messaging in the following poll: Instant messaging. Then use the Back button or the link provided to return to this page.
I personally do not use IM for my studies, relying on the forum to communicate with my fellow students. This is mainly due to previous experience and knowing how distracting it can be.
What are the main similarities and differences between instant messaging and chat?
Whilst both systems are asynchronous and mainly text based the similarities end there. In IM you can choose who is on your friends list and when you talk to them, whilst in chat anyone can join the chatroom and contribute to whatever is being discussed at the time. This however is changing as online chatrooms and IM applications can now both offer the capabilities of each other.