What's the definition of "Instant Messaging"?
Whatis.com defines it as: (link)
"Instant messaging, often shortened to simply "IM" or "IMing," is the exchange of text messages through a a software application in real-time. Generally included in the IM software is the ability to easily see whether a chosen friend, co-worker or "buddy" is online and connected through the selected service. Instant messaging differs from ordinary e-mail in the immediacy of the message exchange and also makes a continued exchange simpler than sending e-mail back and forth. Most exchanges are text-only, though popular services, such as AOL, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and Apple's iChat now allow voice messaging, file sharing and even video chat when both users have cameras."
Its a revolution which has made the world even smaller. If you are comfortable typing, simple text chat can be your means of communication. If you are not so comfortable typing, you may opt for voice chat. And if you are tooooo keen on seeing & talking... then definitely video chat!
Some people chat visibly... some choose to remain invisible! Infact invisible chat can be termed as a veil that lets you see the world but not the world see you..! Good concept! Ray Tomlinson(i), the inventor of "email" in 1971, would be proud to see his invention grow to this level! ICQ introduced the concept of instant messaging in 1996 which was taken forward by AOL in 1997 with the AOL instant messenger.
Real-time communication system - IM has made communication especially across geographies so easy that one has over come the challenge of travelling or waiting for a response. Telephones do support in the same manner but text, graphics and file interchange with voice /visual interchange has added to the ease of communication enormously.
But somehow, overdose of anything can be injurious. Many organisations today feel that employees spend a considerable amount of time in non-constructive chat and hence have started blocking all forms of instant messaging. On one hand, employers are trying to channelise their resources for better output on the other hand, blocking of instant messaging can hamper the growth of the organisations. Hence, we need to find better ways of tackling this problem...!
Lets brainstorm on how to keep a check on instant messaging so that it is a win win situation for any organisation and any employee...!!