A few months ago we installed the Instant Message module. It allowed our Premium Members to send PMs (private instant messages) to each other via the website. The IM module is very basic and allows members to send short (254 characters) plain-text messages to each other. The instant-messages appear at the top of the next page the recipient views. The Instant Message module is very lightweight, but also very simple and limited – For example, you can only send a message to a member that is currently online.
Last week I stumbled across the Drupal Private Message module (I don’t know how I missed it all this time). The Private Message module allows members to send WYSIWYG messages, with no size limit, to any member (although we limit it to Premium Members) online or offline. It also has an “inbox”, a sent-items folder, it allows for creation of new storage folders, and even lets you know if your recipient has read your message or not. You can read about all the features and planned upcoming features on the Privatemsg page.
The users absolutely love this new instant messenger – we have received more comments and feeback on this feature than any upgrade we’ve ever done.
If you’re looking to add some socialization to your Drupal social website, give it a try.