What is Messaging?

A Beginner's Guide to Messaging

Messaging has grown in popularity
It's easy to stay in touch by using messaging applications. PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

Messaging is a real-time communications medium which allows people to converse with each other by sending text-based messages through software which results in the messages being delivered to their computer or mobile device.

While messaging most commonly refers to the text sent to another user via keyboard, messaging may also involve sending video, audio, images and other multimedia, as messaging apps and platforms frequently support these features.

How Does Messaging Work?

A complex series of servers, software, protocols and packets are necessary to take the instant message you just wrote and deliver it to your contact with lighting-quick speed.

Read the full article, How Instant Messaging Works, for an illustrated walk through of how messaging works.

How Do I Start Messaging?

In order to chat with family, friends, and other contacts, you must first consider which app or platform you will use to communicate with, and sign up for your own screen name and password.

There are a wide variety of different types of messaging clients, each addressing a specific need or community of users. Some of the most popular messaging applications include Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Line and Kik.

Is Messaging Safe?

As with all online communication, you'll want to be careful with what you say and what information you share. Never give personal information to someone you don't know, and never say something that you don't want a record of. 

When Was Messaging Invented?

The first messaging clients were developed in the 1970s and allowed users to send text-based messages to computers linked on the same computer network, typically within the same building. Today, users can use video and audio to chat, share photos and files, compete in multiplayer games, participate in group chat, and more.

How Should I Talk While Messaging?

The language and tone that you use while messaging should be appropriate for the audience that you are speaking to. While you're at work for instance, you'll want to follow the etiquette and best practices for demonstrating professionalism while messaging. If you're chatting with a friend or family member, you can be more casual, using slang, acronyms, incomplete sentences and even images and emojis to liven up your discussion. 

Understanding Messaging Terminology

If you are struggling to understand what FTW or BISLY means, our guide to messaging terms will help you on your way to becoming a messaging expert in no time.


Updated by Christina Michelle Bailey, 6/28/16