Difference between SMS and IM
Key difference: SMS sends a message phone to phone. IM send messages from computer to computer via the internet.
SMS and IM are popular methods of communication. Both allow messages to be sent across to another person. SMS stands for Short Message Service, a text messaging service, which allows a user to send a small message from a phone to another phone. IM or Internet Messaging is a messaging service over the internet.
SMS was developed as a free add-on on the regular cellular service, and was meant to be an alternative to calling. However, as popularity increased, service providers began to charge a fee per SMS. Also, it costs more to send an SMS to a person out of the country.
The advantage of an SMS is that one can leave an SMS for a person who is unavailable at the time to talk to on the phone. The other person can then check the SMS and reply or call back. However, the disadvantage is that the SMS is limited to 160 characters per message. Users have since come up with ways to shorten words by use of acronyms and abbreviations. This method of shortening words has since been known as ‘SMS language’.
SMS has also gotten popular as an advertising tool. Companies send alerts and ads to people via an SMS. For a small fee, or sometimes even free, users can also subscribe to receive stock quotes, news, financial news, sports news, and weather alerts via an SMS.
The IM is a way to chat to a person over the internet via the use of an instant messenger. Many companies provide a messaging client, such as Google Talk, Skype, Yahoo Messenger, AIM (AOL Internet Messenger), MSN Messenger, etc. One had to first download and install these messengers, but now, most of these are available for use in browser. The advantage of an IM is that it is free for use. There is no additional cost over the cost of internet.
Using IM, one can practically chat with anyone in any part of the world, providing both have a computer, internet access and the same messenger. Also, both have to online at the same time in order to be able to chat, as oppose to as SMS, where one can leave an SMS and the other person can check it at their own convenience. IM also allows users to attach and send files, images and videos to the other person. These can be accessed and viewed by the other person at the same time as chatting.
Both SMS and IM, while different, have the same purpose. They provide a method for people to connect to each other. This purpose has been utilized thoroughly by teenagers and young adults, some might even say misused. Regardless, one cannot argue that connectivity has increased over the years and will continue to rise. It just remains to see what’s next.
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