MSN

Definition

IM (Instant Messaging) as the word underlines is a form of emailing service but only faster and less formal. From the beginning of 2000, this system of communication has increased tremendously and helped businesses on a wider spectrum benefit greatly. Why did this become so? This report will review the benefits and the dangers surrounding MSN as an IM tool and a faster version of emailing.

It has gained popularity amongst people from the work places and created a community of users from all across the globe. This report looks at what MSN is as an Instant messaging tool and the impact that it has had on our society lately.

Introduction

Radcliffe, M [2000] describes the term ‘communication' as any interaction with another person. It includes sharing information, ideas and feelings between people. Communication is a ‘two way' process. When you communicate you perceive the other persons responses and react with your own thoughts and feelings. It is only by paying attention to the other person that you have any idea about what to say or do next.

The traditional ways of communication dates back to the primitive years when we simply exchanged words and expressions to pass on information. These signals that we sent of to whoever we communicated with were in the form of signals, symbols signs and even behaviour. To create awareness or to inform the public about something was done in so many ways. Some cultures sent messengers, physical people to go forth to places to pass on information. Other cultures sent out birds with the messages tagged on their legs whilst some simply created smoke fires to signal information. Information as a vital part of any organisation or culture remains as important then as it is now.

Throughout years we have witnessed how information has evolved. The vital component in any information is how it is communicated. Information has been passed from the sender to the recipient in many ways. Back in the days, people will address whoever they want and just send of mails to either friends or families. Still in popular use today, several institutions still use this medium of communication to send out information to customers, clients or stakeholders and employees.

The communication phase has changed from posts, to electronic mailing to instant messaging and this is where MSN comes into place. Since the most important factor here is communication, lets start by examining what it stands for and why it must be considered useful.

What is IM (Instant Messaging?)

Instant Messaging allows the creation of text based communication between two or more people and this is achieved over the internet or a network area. It allows effective and efficient communication featuring immediate acknowledgement or reply. They are instant messages that can be passed from sender to receiver in an instant.
IM allows effective and efficient communication, featuring immediate receipt of acknowledgment or reply. In certain cases Instant Messaging involves additional features, which make it even more popular, i.e. to see the other party, e.g. by using web-cams, or to talk directly for free over the Internet.
It is possible to save a conversation for later reference. Instant messages are typically logged in a local message history which closes the gap to the persistent nature of e-mails and facilitates quick exchange of information like URLs or document snippets (which can be unwieldy when communicated via telephone).
IM in MSN

MSN is an Instant Messaging tool which allows short messages to be exchanged between friends, families and the community at large. It provides voice calling abilities, text messaging and other facilities.

Some of the characteristics that these personal spaces have are the ability to share thoughts and ideas with friends, share their life with photos and videos, encourages meeting new friends or people and generally see what the person has been up to. It also provides an outlet for creativity, allowing users to express their individuality and satisfying their need of being part of a community. As a new phenomenon, it has changed the way we used to engage in conversation, it has replaced the way we kept our friendships and other ways of expressions in general have also been changed.

The younger people of our generation would prefer to use MSN messenger to organise their social life, extend their relationships, and possibly deepen their relationships. On the other hand, older members use Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Spaces to keep in touch and share their lives with friends and family. It has created an opportunity to keep in touch with friends from any part of the globe and exchange information in the cheapest way yet.

Impact

Instant access to communication is achieved through MSN and now you can view who it is you are talking to through the enabled webcams. Similar to talking to someone on a real – time, it has bridged the gap of far away to here and now.

MSN messenger in contrast with emailing have some similar things that they share in common but one would say that MSN is much faster. Emailing provides instant results from senders to recipients however much slower than MSN. Lets just examine some of the attributes’ of MSN.

Attributes of MSN

MSN (webcam)
MSN Webcam Recorder is a tool that allows you to record video streamed to and from your computer by MSN Messenger's Webcam Feature. It doesn't do screen capture like other software, that are inaccurate, skip some frames, and lose in quality. It sees the Webcam video the same way MSN does, and reproduces it with a more accurate time correction. You can also watch a live video in another window, the size you want it to be, so you're not stuck with MSN's conversation window and its small size!
Threats

Email has revolutionised the way we talk to each other. For many of us, snail mail is a thing of the past. However, the benefits of speedy communications have come at a price. The past few months have seen commercial and home email users assailed with malicious worms and viruses, underlining the dangers of sharing information online. The popularity of email, however, may soon be rivalled by a newer and more nimble online communications system, Instant Messaging (IM). At last count, there were 50 million IM users worldwide. Its exploding popularity threatens to open a range of new security issues - issues that the anti-virus and internet firewall vendors have been slow to address. IM is like email on steroids. Users hold online conversations in real-time, passing typed messages back and forth in a way similar to speaking on a telephone. IM software tells users who is online and provides for conferences between multiple participants. In a corporate setting, this has, in many instances, filled the gap between email and telephones, providing fast collaboration between many people in different parts of the business. Elsewhere, IM has become the latest toy of internet consumers, many of whom are enamoured of its recreational potential but ignorant of its potential dangers.

Conclusions

I would conclude by saying that MSN have been a major contributor of how communication evolved and has set the trend for other major social websites like Facebook, Hi-5, flickr etc. Organisations have manipulated it as a commercial tool and with this have enhanced businesses worldwide. One must not log on without being aware of the security issues that surrounds these sites, but must always make sure not to pass details that are regarded as sensitive whilst chatting.

References

http://www.governmentsecurity.org/news/SecuritydangersofMSNMessengerYahooMessengerAOLInstantMessengerandICQ.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_messaging
Radcliffe, M [2000] Communication and Lifelong Nursing. Nursing Times, Vol96, No 22. pp 39 – 42.

http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=MSN+Messenger&i=47359,00.asp#

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