Communicating in plain text can be really tough; it just doesn't allow the subtlety, nuance and level of emotion that humans need to understand conversations properly. If you struggle with it, the Sound-Word Index might be able to help you out.
Everyone eventually trades up from the AIM app to IM+ or BeeJive or Meebo, but the free AIM app for the iPad actually looks decent.
That iBuddy MSN emote guy we caw back at CES is now on sale at Brando for $20. If you don't remember, you can set up notifications on your MSN buddies, so that when they sign on, the iBuddy goes nuts and flaps its wings. It also recognizes up to eight emotes and blinks/flaps/explodes accordingly. Sucks that it's only…
The Availbot was a neat prototype, but this USB i-Buddy we just saw takes instant message emote representation to the next level. When one of your pre-specified MSN buddies signs on, the little monarch man blinks its lights, flaps its wings or twists its body in a way that can only be described as incredibly spastic.