Instant messaging (IM) is a form of communication over the Internet, that offers quick transmission of text-based messages from sender to receiver. In push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients, instant messaging basically offers real-time direct written language-based online chat. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet. It may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. More advanced instant messaging allows enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling, video chat and inclusion of hyperlinks to media. Instant messaging falls under the term online chat, since it is also text-based, bi-directionally exchanged, and happens in real-time. IM is distinct from chat in that IM is based on clients that facilitate connections between specified known users (often using a contact list, buddy list, or friend list).
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