- In Real Space.
- In Real Time.
- In Virtual Space.
- In Virtual Time.
In Virtual Space / In Real Time
Instant Messaging is an IVP / IRT application. You can converse with your friends at any time, from anywhere. If you can find a computer with Internet service, anywhere in the world, you can be online and chatting with your friends in seconds.
In Virtual Space / In Virtual Time
Discussion Groups / Forums is a IVP / IVT application. You post stuff as its convenient to you. Some folks might post once / day, others might post every few minutes. This makes for interesting discussions, as some folks post once and disappear. When they come back a day later, the discussion that they participated in (or started) may have moved on, far beyond where they left it.
The dividing line between forums and Instant Messaging is not sharp. Some folks will use an IM platform as a forum, by inviting their friends in a group IM conversation, and keeping the forum open 7 x 24. Others will use a forum discussion practically in real time, by checking every minute for updates in a forum.
I, personally, like to leave my IM clients open 7 x 24 (and my computers up and online at the same basis). If it occurs to me, I might change the status message (if available for a given IM client) to indicate that I'm out for any period of time (ie sleeping). Other times, I don't. Anyone who uses IM for any regular amount has experienced finding an attempted IM contact buried in a window underneath whatever they were working on at the time, 2 - 3 hours after the attempt was made by a friend. MSN and Yahoo Messengers have an alert tool (MSN: Nudge, Yahoo: Buzz) on their native clients, that you can use if supported by your client.