The instant messaging category got going in earnest around 1996 with the debut of ICQ, around the same time that Hotmail was founded. Over the next two years, each of what are now the leading IM services launched in rapid succession: AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, QQ, and our own MSN Messenger.
Over the following six years, instant messaging services as a category enjoyed explosive, viral growth, ultimately reaching well over half a billion active users sharing hundreds of billions of messages every month.
Like every major new communications paradigm over the past 20+ years, the thirst and demand that people have to connect, communicate, and share with one another is nearly limitless. E-mail didn’t disrupt or reduce phone usage – it added to it. IM didn’t disrupt or reduce e-mail – it added to it. The same goes for mobile phones and text messaging, and the same too, for social networking over the past 5 years.
That’s interesting to keep in mind – especially for readers in the United States, where the IM trends (and particularly Messenger’s popularity) have been somewhat less positive. On the one hand, as users ourselves, we’re all daily participants in the rise of Facebook, MySpace, QQ, and the overall "social" category of web services around the world, and it’s awesome to see our partners’ successes. Today, social networking services as a whole drive a similar number of minutes as e-mail or IM. Even though globally, e-mail and IM have basically peaked and leveled off, people continue to spend roughly the same amount of time using them, while social networks have grown to match. And even with all of that new activity, those same people are still connecting, communicating, and sharing more than ever with the people they care about via IM. And yes, it really is mainly the same people – for example, globally, 44% of people who use Facebook in a given month also use Hotmail or Messenger in that same month, and vice versa 66% of monthly Messenger users also use Facebook, according to Comscore................. For more pics, interesting statistics and full story, continue at Source