Virtual communities and self-expression

Habbo screenshot
A populated room on Habbo. (Screenshot from Virtual Worlds For Teens)

Aside from providing a plethora of information, the Internet’s rise in popularity can also be credited to what it allowed users to do socially.

Communication with a far-away relative was made easy with e-mail, and meeting a new friend halfway across the world could be done from your own living room while browsing a forum. This advanced connectivity introduced a fascinating experience previously unavailable to the world and changed the way we interact. Beyond the typical e-mail and instant messaging programs, one thing that took online socialization to a new level was virtual world games. Continue reading “Virtual communities and self-expression”

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The IM legacy of MSN Messenger

Let’s talk about something not too old, but also something that no longer exists: MSN Messenger, later known as Windows Live Messenger up until its demise. For the sake of simplicity, and in reference to what most of us colloquially called it after its name change, it will be referred to as MSN Messenger for the remainder of this post.

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First released in 1999, MSN Messenger was one of the most used instant messaging clients in the world. The program evolved from a simple plain-text messaging service between contacts, to a full interactive experience that went beyond text conversation and added webcam chat, audio, file sharing, multiplayer games, emoticons, and much more. In competition with other IM’ing services such as Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ (both still in service, believe it or not), MSN Messenger arguably left the biggest impact in the history and culture of instant messaging. Continue reading “The IM legacy of MSN Messenger”