Instant messaging is probably the greatest thing since you discovered there were boobs on this website. You see, I go to Winona State where every student gets a laptop included with tuition. That means that nearly every student has instant messenger whether they even know how to turn a computer on or not, which can cause some real problems. But perhaps the best feature of instant messaging (or IMing!) is the ability to pass off awkward moments with the abbreviation "LOL!"? Where else can you do that? No where, that's where. Here's an example.

HOT, NAIVE GIRL: I'm bored, what is there to do around here on weekends?
YOU: You could do me" " " ..LOL!
HOT, NAIVE GIRL: Oh You! If you weren't laughing out loud at that, thus inferring it was a joke not to be taken seriously, I would be furious right now!
YOU: Still wanna have sex?

There are many different types of instant message users, and for your convenience I have sorted them into nine different categories. You're welcome.

The Clueless Buddy – This buddy isn't even quite sure what AIM stands for. They have the highly creative screen name consisting of just their entire name followed by birth year. They barely know what the internet is or how to do anything except write papers and look at porn. They're not sure how to change any settings so they settle for the standard font and default preferences. Don't bother talking to them because they're not great at typing in general, especially one handed.

The Idle Buddy – This buddy is online a lot but is usually idle because they get sidetracked real fucking easily. You will be talking to them and all of a sudden they stop responding. Did they get kidnapped? Did they impulsively decide to go build a tree house? No, they just saw something sparkly across the room and got more distracted than a slow kid in a room full of mirrors.

The Irritating Buddy – This buddy does everything they can to make you wish you were Stevie Wonder. Not only will they choose a seizure-inducing color scheme of a yellow font on bright green background but they probably have an Ashlee Simpson icon that repeatedly flashes bright, sparkly shit that only increases a higher level of infuriation. These buddies also spell things in the most RiDiKuLoUs WaY possible. And you know that unwritten rule that says you should wait at least one minute to IM someone after they sign on? Don't worry, this buddy won't follow that one so prepare to be barraged with messages as soon as you come online.

The Non-Descriptive Buddy – I think this one applies to all of us at one time or another. It occurs when a person's away message never has anything whatsoever to do with their present activity. They will never be caught dead with an away message that reads "At class" or "Sleeping". Because if you think about it, the away message "Don't cry because it's over – smile because it happened" obviously explains that they are doing laundry" right?

The Popular Buddy – This is the buddy that doesn't respond to each message for at least four to eight minutes. You know they have read your message – it's just that they have put you on a cyber waiting list according to where you rank among their other friends. They are a fucking rockstar and they realize their conversation is cherished almost as much as a bag of Doritos (the Taco flavor) after a Phish concert.

The Pretentious Buddy – This buddy can be a real prick sometimes. Their away message is constantly up so it looks like they're not at their computer but they just don't like to be bothered by people unless they initiate the conversation. If they do talk to you and they decide they have had enough (and really, who can blame them?), they will make up an excuse and say they have to go but you will still see them still online an hour later. You should definitely take it personally, you egocentric ass.

The Quoting Buddy – This buddy tries to explain how they are feeling to their entire Buddy List through the fine art of the away message by taking a quote from a favorite song or some ancient proverb and then maybe adding a smiley face illustrating exactly what their little emo face looks like. None of the seven people who checked the away message understand it nor care.

The Veteran Buddy – This buddy is way into AIM and isn't afraid to admit it. They have a custom made buddy icon and love to OSATMNS! (Overuse Stupid Abbreviations That Make No Sense). In fact, they probably have a program installed that automatically logs all of their conversations so don't try to deny that one time you drunkenly told them you're "not gay but would totally do Brad Pitt".

The "'Who the Fuck Are You' Buddy – This is a buddy that you may have known in high school or shared a class with last semester. You guys talked once in a while online and swapped notes, but now you just check their away message twelve times a day but barely ever talk. Your conversations are about as short and creepy as Tom Cruise and always seem to trail off into that uncomfortable silence each time. If it's been a while since you've talked to them, don't even think about asking who they are. I mean, who wants to look like a dumbass in front of their old roommate's ex-girlfriend?! OSATMNS!