53 million American adults use instant messaging

A nice little article from our pals over at the Pew Internet Research Center. According to their research about 53 million American adults use instant messaging programs. About 11 million of them IM at work. So why is ACS not IMing at work? Or are we? Let’s hear some feedback. In the meantime check out the exact report here.

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  1. I don’t think NHO blocks IMing. At least it didn’t as recently as a couple of years ago. A few people on my team were using Yahoo messenger, between ourselves and with our offsite consultants about the project we were working on. That was work-related use, and was very handy. Filled a niche that email and cell phones didn’t quite cover. Useful especially when you have deadline-based work and the meter’s running and people are scattered around. I guess one risk that any manager would consider is that people might abuse it for chit-chat with friends, and that it could actually sap productivity. I used to see the occasional IM window open as I’d pop in on younger, less, shall we say… burdened… people around the building, being used for what looked like personal use. I don’t think it’s a terribly big deal though, as people make personal calls and emails already anyway (yes you do, don’t lie). I think if you have people using it for work, it will inevitably bleed into personal, just because other people they know at other workplaces are using it for work, too, and the internet is the internet is the internet. “Might as well put them on my buddy list” the thought would go. Seems to fit with what you always hear about how work time and personal time are blending more together these days – flex time, telecommuting, chronic workaholism, bringing work home, etc. We could always get our own IM client, though, one that wasn’t compatible with the AOLs and Yahoos of the world. That’d keep it on the straight and narrow. Of course… sometimes it’s nice to ignore that email from your boss for a few hours when you need some breathing room, so IM can really dog you. So uhh… forget I said anything! My current team uses some teamware that has a built-in IM component. We’re distributed geographically, so it could be very useful. “Could”, I say, because this particular team barely touches it, presumably due to general techophobia. Or would that be “distechgnosis”? That highlights a potential obstacle; if we ever rolled something out company-wide, it would have to be super simple and intuitive, or I’ll spend half of every day making tutorial housecalls.

  2. I agree with Hotdog’s remark about blending work and personal time. I say this as I post on Saturday, the 4th. Hey, it’s a long weekend and my wife’s outta town. This is pretty harmless mischief. I don’t use IM because I’m not that big a real-time communicator. I like the slower pace of e-mail.