I just received a message from Gaia online today that asked a strange question: “Hi Lucy, What do Neopets, MapleStory and Habbo all have in common?”
Out of curiosity I logged into my Gaia Online account to see what Kate Pietrelli, an account manager for TriplePoint (Gaia’s PR agency), is typing about and, sure enough, along the top of the page is the option to send an instant message my fellow Gaians.
Pietrelli wrote that the GIM (Gaia Instant Messenger) is “the latest interactive feature to launch on Gaia Online. GIM will enable Gaia’s virtual world community of more than 7 million active members to stay constantly in contact within Gaia. In a trial launch to its members on September 18, 2008, audiences sent over 1 million instant messages in just 6 hours through the GIM feature on Gaia. GIM will fully roll out to the Gaia community this week.”
GIM is cute and very easy to use. It does not require any programs to download and, if your like me, there’s nothing more annoying than having hundreds of programs on your desktop just to say “Hello” to one person.
Once you log in you can move it to either side of the window or, if you don’t want to be seen, you can set your availability icon to Invisible or Away with your own customizable away messages.
The messenger will automatically have all your Gaia friends on the buddy list when you first log in and, by using GIM, users can earn up to 200 Gaia gold pieces a day that they can use to buy items for their avatars. They can also teleport to any friend’s location and share a game, watch a movie together at the cinema, post in the threads, etc.
Just like regular chat programs, you are able to block or remove users from the buddy list as well as add new buddies to it. You can use it almost instantly by clicking on the link at the top of the pages.
According to Pietrelli, the GIM uses the same technology as America Online’s instant messenger and was created to allow Gaia users to talk to other Gaians either person-to-person or in group chats without having to stop the game they’re playing to check messages. They can send messages to their friends regardless of where they are located within Gaia and even make new friends while watching a movie, playing a game or exploring other areas.