How To Learn IM Lingo and Etiquette

If it is your first time instant messaging or if you have been doing it for a long time, it's important to know some of the etiquette and jargon that goes along with IMing. The most important rule to keep in mind is to remember who you are talking to. If you are talking to a colleague or professor, for instance,  you'll want to keep your message more professional than if you are just talking to your friends.

  1. Different screen names  If you have a funny, wild screen name, you might want to save it for friends. If you are talking to teachers or colleagues, you would be best off making a new screen name for that purpose.
  2.  Introduce yourself  If you are sending someone an IM for the first time it's good to tell someone who you are, instead of just saying "Hi."
  3. Check to see if the other person has time  While you might be ready for a big conversation, they might be about to walk out the door. It's polite to ask.
  4. DON'T HOLLER  You might not know it, but when you type in all capitals it's the same as shouting at someone.
  5. Practice good conversation skills  Don't send someone a million messages before they have a chance to respond to one thing you said. The person you are talking to might be talking to other people or might be busy with another task.
  6. Use the emotions  The emotions (or smilies) that are part of your instant messenger service can really help someone understand what you are trying to get across to them.
  7. Ending the conversation  When you are going to go, tell the person.  Randomly signing off in the middle of a conversation is the same as hanging up the phone on someone.
  8. Be brief  Keep IM conversation short, and try to focus on light topics. If you  need to have a serious in-depth conversation, it's best to do it over the phone.
  9. Use your away message  If you want to stay signed on, but are busy, let people know. Instead of just ignoring them or getting annoyed by the messages, an away message is a simple way to let others know what you are up to.
  10. Keep the other person informed  Are you leaving the computer to take a phone call? Let the person you are IMing know this. You don't want them to be sitting at the computer waiting for you to respond. You will seem rude or as if you just don't care about his message.
  11. Below  are some common IM jargon  Be careful when using jargon  in a professional situation. You won't look very professional if you write LOL to you boss!

  • lol =laughing out loud
  • brb= be right back
  • btw =by the way 
  • imho= in my humble opinion
  • sup = What's up
  • l8r = later
  • ttyl = talk to you later
  • thx = thanks
  • np= no problem
  • gtg = got to go  
  • ttfn =  ta ta for now

Many more examples of  IM lingo can be found at ChatSlang.


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