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How Windows Live Messenger Works

The 'i'm' Initiative
Windows i'm initiative lets users contribute to charitable organizations every time they chat.
Windows i'm initiative lets users contribute to charitable organizations every time they chat.
© Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Helping a favorite cause is as easy as IMing with the i'm Initiative from Windows Live Messenger. Each time you start a conversation using i'm, Microsoft will donate part of its advertising revenue to a charitable organization. You can select from organizations like the American Red Cross, the Sierra Club, the National AIDS Foundation and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Each organization on the list will receive at least $100,000 from the initiative. Between March 2007 and the end of March 2008, the i'm Initiative raised more than $850,000. A counter on the site shows exactly how much has been raised to date.

If you'd like to participate, first make sure you're using Windows Messenger 8.1 or higher, or download it. Then place the text code for your chosen cause into your display name. Here's how to do that:

  1. From your Contacts window, click the arrow next to your name and select "Options."
  2. Next to your name, type the code for the cause you'd like to support. For example, the American Red Cross is *red+u and the Sierra Club is *sierra.
  3. Click "OK." From now on, when you IM, your name will appear with the cause's text code after it.

After that, all you need to do is keep having IM conversations using Windows Live Messenger.

Windows Live addresses Web communication needs with a single suite of applications and services that are designed to keep changing based on user needs and evolving technology. As part of Windows Live, Windows Live Messenger also continues to grow and change.

For example, Microsoft announced in March 2008 that users would soon be able to add their contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo, Hi5 and Tagged accounts to their Windows Life Messenger contact list. No doubt more changes will continue to come [source: PC World].

For lots more information about Windows Live Messenger and related topics, check out the links on the next page.