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Instant messaging as a substitution for email

I can see a tendency of much wider use of IM than emails among the youngsters. 

It can be Windows Messenger, ICQ or Skype, but the Generation Y reach for it much sooner than opening an email program. The messages are delivered even if a friend is offline and there is a wide range of emoticons available to express feelings in short forms.

And there is a huge advantage of instant messaging: it is silent. Anyone can use it in an open-office without being heard. This characteristic makes this channel an excellent way of banking customer service, an extension of contact centres. The customer authentication and simple transactions can even be made automatically (like the IVR on phones), and when it comes to explanations or complex transactions then a contact centre operator can take over the conversation.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member 04 February, 2009, 10:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

IM is really taking off these days. This holds specially true for handheld devices with monthly data plans.  IM takes very little bandwith, and the amount of data transferred is minimal as well as long as file transfers are not initiated.

Clearly there are benefits in IM over email, especially if you are only "chatting" ie. exchanging short messages.  My employer offers MS Messenger for intranet connectivity, and I use it quite often with certain collegues.

But the true power of IM shows itself when a community is attached to it. The service evolves into Internet Relay Chat, IRC. When multiple people join the same channel and start expressing their views on the topic set for the channel, there is true conversation and media power present. Also, if you set up a screen to monitor your channels, it automatically keeps a backlog of all discussions, so you can read them later if you need to.

The media power in IRC relies on very fast distribution of data to a large group of people.  Because you can be on multiple channels simultaneously, and bigger channels have hundreds of people simultaneously, any news (and links) travel very fast on IRCNet. Eye-witness reports flow in IRC a lot faster than traditional media (even on the web) can possibly process and publish.

The future is in IM   :-)

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