There was a time when people used to only verbally communicate with each other. Then came instant messaging. The earliest form of IM'ing came about with Internet relay chat, which allowed people to communicate in forums and channels. Building onto that were peer-to-peer systems like ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger, which allowed people to connect directly to each other. It also gave guys the courage to spit game to girls they would never even look at it in real life. Play on, playas.