A Confession and a Request

I like to think of myself as a computer geek and an internet geek. I've built computers and installed many different flavors of many different operating systems over the years. I've been on the internet so long that I remember what it was like before the web and all the pretty pictures (no, I'm not really that old - I've just been on the net since I was in my teens). I'm down with all the Web 2.0 social software goodness (although I do my best to stay away from YouTube - too much of a timesink). Heck, I've even annexed myself a computer science degree. But even with all that geek cred, I must confess that there is one huge, gaping, and increasingly embarrassing gap in my knowledge: Instant Messaging

I don't IM, I never have. I've blithely ignored this entire sector of the internet. The last time I did real time chat on the net was back in the bad old days of IRC (which, as far as I can remember, was just plain painful over dial-up, even back in the day before everybody was online). I just never really saw the point (particularly since I've now got free long distance on my cell phone and can call family to keep in touch).

However, it's come home to me in the last couple of months that this is a bit of ignorance that I need to correct. However, I really kind of feel like I've missed the boat when it comes to IM, and I'm not even really sure where to start to learn a little more.

So, here's my request to any of the IMing folks who are reading this (particularly the library folk): if any of you know of a good "IM for Newbies" kind of website, article, etc. could you please let me know about it? I don't necessarily need info on how to choose and use software (I'm pretty good at figuring that out myself), but I'd love to find a basic guide to IM etiquette.

Oh, and if you're feeling brave enough to tutor an IM noob, I can be AIM'd at advinlib.

Thanks.