Instant Messaging for Instant Communications

January 2001
by Reid Goldsborough

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On the Internet, chat isn’t idle anymore.

In approving the $103.5 billion merger between America Online and Time Warner in January, the US Federal Communications Commission stipulated that AOL must allow users of competing programs to communicate with its "instant messaging programs" when AOL makes high-speed versions available.

Instant messaging, or IM, is the latest incarnation of online chat (a feature which has been popular with young people on the Internet since a Finnish man created Internet Relay Chat in 1988).

Instant messaging is instant gratification. Unlike with e-mail or on-line group discussions, there’s no cooling your heels as you wait for responses to your typed-in comments, questions, jokes, insults, or flirtations. You just check to see if a pal is on-line and available, key in a "Wassup?" or its equivalent, and then you’re chatting away.

Growth in Business Use Predicted

The FCC’s involvement underscores that IM is big business. Along with its more social aspects, IM can provide buttoned-down benefits for many organizations.

Business use of IM, until recently just a trickle, is expected to surge. IDC, an information technology market research firm in Framingham, Massachusetts, projects that the business IM market will grow 140% during each of the next five years, from 5.5 million users worldwide in 2000 to 180 million users in 2004.

IM use in the business secto…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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