Just had a chain of thought:
I know exactly why IM was such a dramatic, exciting, amazing new thing for me when I first started to really use it (wasn’t until high school, really): because it enabled me to escape from the bounds of vocal speech and instead communicate via typing, something that was much more familiar to me and that avoided the automatic mental block filter that was normally around me (i’m not sure whether or not that filter was quite as strong then as it is now). But I know that IM was a huge hit among my other peers as well–most of whom were perfectly normal hyperactive bouncing-off-the-walls ridiculously unreserved kids, nothing like me. So what was the draw for all of those people? Was it just the fact that IM enabled them to chat with each other outside of school playtime hours, and provided them with a way to chat with their school friends even when they were at home and normally would only have the company of parents and siblings?
…yes, it probably was.
(…and that ended that chain of thought rather abruptly)