[Air-l] What is Instant Messaging

jeremy jhuns at vt.edu
Wed Dec 18 03:16:38 PST 2002

but it seems the innovation "something relatively new" as described in 
your first post as

"online awareness + buddy list + over TCP/IP protocal + messaging"

need not have had anything to do with interface, as it crosses several 
existing interfaces.  It was my point to argue that this list of 
operations are not new.  I agree that interfaces are important also, but 
it wasn't the point of my original point.  I think it might be good in 
these situations to consider the cultural form that we are talking about 
also.  just what is instant messaging, what would it have been comprable 
to in 400bc, 100ad, 800ad, 1500, 1700, etc. etc.  the concept embedded 
within the variety of world cultures is not new at all, this is a new 
implementation, the systems underlying it are not even new in terms of 
digital systems, though as i think we both agree, the interface is new 
to some extent, though i think we may be able to find metaphorical 
comparisons in other systems that have existed before, such as some of 
the shared textual environments.  I remember when i used icq the first 
time, my impression was that the interface was similar to parts of the 
daedalus writing system.

granted, once im systems went into more personal devices you again have 
a transformation of the interface, and different types of diffusion, but 
in the end, what's new about it?  the interface?  ok, that's fine, but 
systematically the operation of this is quite the same as many other 
things in the digital world as i've previously discussed.  If the 
similarities aren't present in your understanding of the systems, then i 
think we may have different contexts that may be incommensurable in some 

kindly remember that email is an interface too, and that capitalization 
of whole words usually means you are yelling. i would not like to think 
that is intended.  

have a nice day,

Quentin (Gad) Jones wrote:

>jeremy hunsinger wrote:
>>i don't see a substantial difference  in either esp. when one gets to
>>be a high end user of a unix system because everything you say is
>>different is scriptable.   most of the difference is entirely in the
>That is what HCI research is about THE INTERFACE, a different interface
>causes huge differences in behaviour.  It causes huge differences in
>diffusion of innovation too.
>Air-l mailing list
>Air-l at aoir.org

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