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Instant messaging( IM) is a form of synchronous communication over the nternet between two or more people using typed text. Students "IM" over their computers, as well as over their cell phones. The most popular IM tool is that provided by AOL.

The AOL Instant Messaging tool enables users to establish a screen name (address) as well as a personality profile. This profile might include personal information as well as links to websites and online photo galleries. Users may also post "away" messages to annonuce that they are doing something else. Finally, each user may create a Buddy List to include the AIM screen names of their friends. You can look at these lists and right click on the names to see the profiles of those your student identifies as a "buddy."