Welcome to the 2nd semester of Project Play!
We’re starting this semester off with instant messaging, or IM, as it’s also known.
Listen to this week’s podcast (or read the Semester 2, Week 1 Podcast transcript) and then read the info below. If you have any questions about anything along the way, be sure to contact us ; we’re happy to help!
Put simply, IM is a way for people to communicate online in real-time. In other words, I type something to you. You see it and type something back. We can talk privately or we can join a group of other people, and all talk together.
Sounds simple enough, right? But how do you actually do this? Well, that’s what this week of Project Play is all about.
There are 4 steps to getting started with IM.
You don’t have to do all these steps to complete this week’s lesson, but please read them all and then check out the assignments.
Let me reiterate that—you don’t have to do all these steps to complete this week’s lesson. It’s just to give you an understanding of the process.
Step 1. Decide what service(s) you want to use for IM.
There are four primary providers of IM:
• AIM (from AOL)
• Google Talk
• MSN Messenger
• Yahoo! Messenger
Right now, you can only IM people who use the same service you do. So, if I’m using AOL’s instant messaging service, called AIM, then I can only talk to other AIM users. Same thing is true for the rest of the services.
Luckily for libraries thinking about providing IM reference, there is software that allows you to log into all of these services at one time. That way, people using any of the IM services can chat with you. Two examples of this software are Trillian and Meebo.
Step 2. Decide if you want to download software or not.
Most of these services have two versions: one that is web-based (so you don’t download and install software), and one that requires software installed onto your computer.
The web-based version may not have some advanced functionality that the installed version has, but it’s more secure and easier to use. When you’re just starting with IM, we recommend the web-based version. Here are the URLS for the web-based versions:
Remember Meebo and Trillian that I mentioned above? Well, Meebo is a web-based product, while Trillian is a piece of software you download and install. So, if you’re interested in trying one of these products, we’d recommend Meebo (and there’s another reason why you’ll find out about in a minute!)
Step 3. Create an account or screen name with the service(s) of your choice.
The process to create an account varies, depending on the service you choose, but you typically have to pick a screen name (which is what you’ll be called in the IM world), a password, answer a few questions, and agree to the terms of service. You can create an account by visiting any of the links in Step 2 above.
Step 4. Login to the service, and you’re ready to go!
Once you’ve created an account, you should be able to login to the service you’ve chosen.
What you can do with IM depends on what software and service you’re using, but there are a couple of standard things in all services, like:
- A buddy list: Your buddy list is where you keep the list of people you talk to on IM. You have to know someone’s account or screen name to add them to your buddy list. Once you have that information, there should be an icon at the top of the buddy list (usually with a plus sign on it) to easily add buddies.Once you’ve added someone to your buddy list, you can start a conversation with them by double-clicking on them in the buddy list.
- A status indicator: Because IM is real-time communication, it’s important to let people know if you’re available or not. If you aren’t logged into the service, then you won’t appear to be available. But, once you’ve logged in, you will appear to be available unless you say otherwise. The status indicator lets you say that you’re not available or in a meeting or busy or whatever you would like to say.
One last thing about Meebo
There is one last thing I want to tell you about Meebo—it has a really cool feature called the Meebo Me widget. Here’s what it looks like:
Be sure to read the blog post’s comments for lots of other great ideas on how to use Meebo Me and IM.
1. Try IMing someone.
a. You can use the MeeboMe widget above to IM me (Stef at SCLS), or
b. Try the other MeeboMe widgets at our contacts page to IM Beth at OWLS, Joy at WLS, and Jean at SCLS, or
c. Try some from the “Libraries Using MeeboMe for Embedded Chat” at the Library Success Wiki.
(P.S. – This is a great place to find more information on how libraries are using IM —scroll down to the “Specific Blog Posts/Articles to check out” section.)
2. Write in your blog about your experience trying IM, and how you think IM could be useful in libraries or in general.
1. Create an account or screen name for yourself for one or more of the IM services. Once you’ve done that, add one of the Project Play team to your buddy list. (NOTE: If you’re in Winnefox, AOL’s AIM Pro is recommended as the de facto system-wide standard. For SCLS and OWLS, you can create any an account with any service.)
2. Create a Meebo account for yourself, and a MeeboMe widget. Once you log into Meebo, you’ll see a “meebo me” link right at the top to get you started.
Hey PP BFFs!
IM is not an AFZ, so CTO, ICYC: List of Chat Acronyms
[JSYK, not all of the acronyms on this list are completely clean, so IMS if anything is offensive!]
MHOTY for joining us in Semester 2!! There will be some PANS, and, hopefully, some GOL, too.