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instant messaging

Abbreviated IM, a type of communications service that enables you to create a kind of private chat room with another individual in order to communicate in real time over the Internet, analagous to a telephone conversation but using text-based, not voice-based, communication. Typically, the instant messaging system alerts you whenever somebody on your private list is online. You can then initiate a chat session with that particular individual.

See the page of text messaging abbreviations in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

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