Updated: 09/12/2023 by Computer Hope

IM may refer to any of the following:

IM or instant messenger

1. IM is short for instant message, a message directly sent from one person to another. IM is also short for Instant Messenger, a program that connects users to the Internet or network to send text messages. When used as a verb, IM (instant messaging) is sending a message and chatting in an IM program. For example, someone might say "I'll IM you the details."


The term "Instant Messenger" is a trademark owned by Time Warner that should only be used when describing AOL IM software.

Unlike chatting with multiple people talking at once, IM requires an IM client (program) and only lets you directly talk with someone online and in your buddy list. With these programs, you are notified when a friend is online and available to chat.

Examples of IM software

Below is a short list of IM software that is or was available for a computer. In the early 2000s, instant messenger programs became less and less popular as social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, began using social messaging apps. Today, most instant messaging happens through social network apps and on Discord.


The image is an example graphic of what ICQ looked like, which was one of the first widely used Internet instant messenger programs.

Because the companies supporting and developing IM software are competitors, there often is no compatibility between them. If you're on AIM and have a friend using MSN (Microsoft Network), you cannot talk together. Programs like Trillian and Gaim (now called Pidgin) were created to allow users to have any instant messengers in the same program. However, these types of programs still operate over different networks.

Examples of messaging apps

As more people use smartphones and social networking, messaging apps have become a popular way to message family and friends. Below are a few popular messaging apps used today.

2. The Internet domain suffix .im is short for the Isle of Man.

AIM, Buddy list, Chat, Chat terms, Computer acronyms, DM, Gaim, Google, ICQ, Internet, Internet terms, Jabber, Message, Messenger, Pidgin, Skype, Trillian