General Tips workplace

How IM Can Help You In This Economy

There are many ways that a hosted instant messaging client can help you in today’s economy, whether you are unemployed or not. If you  ARE employed, of course you can use a hosted IM program to help you communicate with your co-workers, employees, and supervisors, along with clients. If you are unemployed, however, you can still used secure IM to your advantage. Even though you may not have a full-time job, you can use IM to network with acquaintances, colleagues, and others. You’ll never know what someone knows someone else who can give you the recommendation, tip, or introduction you need in order to secure the job of your dreams!

Communication skills are crucial in ANY job field, and instant messaging can only improve your communication (and typing!) skills. Since I have started using instant messaging on a daily basis, my typing speed (words per minute) has only improved. I can now almost type 70 words per minute! Being able to practice my typing every day only keeps my accuracy and speed up to date. So, in conclusion, if you have former co-workers and employers on your IM list, keep them on there. You’ll never know when they will think of you for a job opening they heard of!

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A Short History of Security

An article about secure instant messagingthat I dug up on PCMag’s website from 2004 shows how far secure instant messaging has come. The article talks about getting a security certificate for about $14.95  that can run alongside AIM or possibly another instant messaging program. But with Brosix, you don’t have worry about installing another (separate) security certificate to run alongside it. It is already heavily and securely encrypted for all over your personal and private online communication.

It is interesting how technology such as encrypting instant messaging has come such a long way. It is important to remember that technology will continuously be developing and evolving as long as users have a need for it and different ways to use said technology are evolving just as fast alongside it. I think that telephones will continue to be used less and less as instant messaging becomes a more accepted method of communication.

I believe that as hosted and secure instant messaging continues to develop, that all instant messaging programs, free or not, will all use encryption in order to protect their users. I also believe that users will soon demand to have encrypted conversations and other transactions (file transfers, audio chats, etc.) in the instant messaging programs. On the same hand, once companies realize the importance encryption all online and digital communication is for their business, I’m sure that they will be jumping on the bandwagon too!

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Should You Integrate?

One of the biggest movements of all the encompasses “Web 2.0”  these days is a major focus on integration. This includes adding links to all of your (or your business) social media profiles onto your main website or chat profile. But the big question I have often wondered is- Is it all necessary?

I definitely think, depending on what industy you are in and how you use your social media, IM, and website, definitely translate into whether or not social media and Web 2.0 integration will help your business or individual visibility.

“So how can I use my social media profiles to help my business?” you may ask. Well, I’m going to tell you:

  • Keep them updated. Chances are, if a potential (or current) customer has added you to their social media networks, then they want to stay updated. Post new products, promotions, or news to keep customers intriged.
  • Reach out. Adding potential and current customers as “friends” on Facebook or following them on Twitter.
  • Make your profiles visible. To create a free page with all your profiles listed, you can use Extendr (to see how it looks, here is my personal extendr profile). You can also use free eye-catching social media graphics on your home page, like the variety found on MySocialButtons, or by searching ‘social media buttons’ or ‘social media icons’ on your favorite search engine.
  • Make your content easy to share. Use the AddThis widget to end all of your blog posts (free, as used on this blog) to make it easy for others to share your content.
  • Fill IM profiles with links. If you use a secure IM client (or even a free client) to chat with clients or employees, add a few social media profile links to drive traffic.
Tips workplace

Recorded IM Conversations

Have a constant record of your instant messaging conversations may be great for some, and a headache for others. Many IM chat clients will automatically store and catalog a user’s instant messaging conversations with all other users, unless they have manually went into their preferences and have turned this feature off. When chatting with other employees and/or clients, I’ve found that keeping a log of all my chat conversations has been extremely useful. If another user has sent me an IM with an important website address, or they have promised to meet a deadline that has passed, I can go back into my chat logs and double-check my information.

IM chat logs have even been used in court cases as evidence! This is why, for some, chat logs can be a headache. If your network administrator and/or supervisor has access to your chat logs, and you have been using the IM chat client to communicate in such a way that is against company policy, then chat logs may ‘catch you in the act’. This could lead to a reprimand, such as less vacation days or no chance for flex time, but can also lead up to termination, depending on each individual company’s policy.

For whatever use a hosted IM client and chat logs may be to you, make sure that you remember that your conversations could be monitored and come back to haunt you. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t say it out loud or to your manager directly (or to your grandmother), then you probably shouldn’t be saying it in IM at all.

General Tips workplace

Mobile Communication

One of the best things about using a hosted IM client is that you can use it anywhere. Brosix IM can be downloaded to a .zip drive so it can be stored on a flash drive, but you can also download your IM program to your home computer so you are still able to communicate with clients and co-workers if you need to telecommute. This greatly reduces the probably hesitation and anxiety that comes with the decision to work from home or not. If you are able to stay in contact with others from the office using IM, then your boss is able to be aware that you are actually working. You will save a sick or vacation day and actually be able to get some work done!

No more going into work when you are getting sick because you don’t want to take any Paid Time Off (PTO). IM allows you to telecommunate and thus reduce the chances of others in your office getting sick because of you. Explain to your boss that this may actually SAVE your company money, as others will not have to stay home because they are sick.

Secure instant messaging client programs are also great if you are traveling- you can talk with clients and co-workers from your hotel room and the airport, if wireless internet is available. IM is the mobile communication solution for busy professionals!

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File Transfers

One of the reasons why file transfers are a great attribute to hosted IM programs is the fact that they are secure and save time. It usually takes less time to upload and send a file through a secure IM window in a program like Brosix then to open up your email program or window, attach the document, type out the email address of the recipient, and then, finally, send the email. A lot of work for one little file transfer!

Depending on the size of the file, it may take some time to send, but during this time, you are still able to have a conversation with your co-worker or friend while the file is being uploaded and made available for him or her to transfer and save to their own computer. When I was working full-time in a marketing department, we did this a few times and it really did save a lot of time, especially since our work email had to go through a company server and was sometimes delayed by ten minutes or more. Additionally, even though this was corporate email, it still wasn’t completely secure. Having a secure IM client can really ease some of these fears.


Twitter vs. IM

It seems like lately, Twitter has completely taken over the internet! When I first got Twitter, I wasn’t so sure about it, but it seems like if you don’t have a Twitter account, you have no internet presence at all! Even this blog (and Hosted IM World) share a Twitter- it’s

Twitter allows you to post short messages, about 120 characters, about anything- from announcing a new blog entry (which is what I use the hostedIMspot account for a lot of the time) to talking about a new dress that you spotted in the Macy’s Misses department. I’ve found that a lot of companies and individuals use it to marketing themselves, their websites, and their brands.

But how does Twitter compare to instant messaging? Is Twitter the new instant messenger? Well, in my opinion, no.  Both are very easy to use, but I believe that Twitter is way less impersonal than instant messaging. With Twitter you do get a glimpse into someone’s daily life (if it is their personal Twitter account), but it is no where near as personal as instant messaging. Usually, with IM, you know the person you are speaking with, either on a personal or professional level. You also aren’t broadcasting a message to hundreds or thousands of people, but are usually only speaking to one person in a chat window at a time. IM is also real-time, like a telephone conversation.

Whichever way you like to talk online using Twitter and IM are 2 of the most popular (and free!) ways to communicate using the internet.

Have a good weekend everyone!


IM is Fun!

One of the reasons why I like Hosted Instant Messaging is because it is so much FUN! I like being able to talk to my friends, clients, and co-workers in different IM chat windows while still being to surf the internet, make a phone call, or even make lunch. 

Instant messaging allows me the freedom to remain social while staying productive and efficent with my work load. Using a hosted IM client on a daily basis has allowed me to maintain my friendships and professional relationships. And once more, it has not only allowed me that channel of communication, but it has even improved many relationships. 

Because companies like Brosix offer free IM client programs, it doesn’t cost anything to be able to use IM in the workplace and at home daily. It is literally the cheapest form of communication today!

The possibilities of IM are endless- there are so many different ways to use instant messaging. This is another reason why using it is so much fun. I get excited about how it can enhance my life and make it easier. I can’t believe that I started using instant messaging almost 8 years ago- when I was just 14! I know it has been around longer than that, and I have been having fun ever since.

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IM Security Policy

When setting up hosted and secure instant messaging client, it may be important to create an IM Security Policy. This sets up the rules and procedures for employees, managers, and the company’s network. Some things that may need to be addressed include whether or not all employee IM logs can be seen by managers and supervisors, the role of IT, and how IM can be used. 

Make sure that a set of through guideline plans are set up before the IM programs are even installed on everyone’s computers. This not only ensures a lesser chance of confusion, but also helps narrow the focus of what the IM program is going to be used for.

The website IT Business Edge has set up a little pack of information about IM Security Policy for your company that can be downloaded free of charge here. To read the accompanying article that was written on April 27, 2009, please click here. Some of the items that are included in the ZIP file include an intro page, cover sheet and terms, and the IM security policy. 

After the IM security policy is created, it might be best to hold a company meeting to explain the guidelines and the basic principles of the program. If that’s not an option, a company-wide e-mail or memo is probably the next best option.

General Tips

Safety and Online Communication

Even though hosted instant messaging programs seem to be safer on the surface, it does not guarantee that online communication is not completely safe. No type of communication really is. As long as there are people out there looking to exploit others, then there are also others out there that are going to be victims. 

Unsafe online communication can come in forms other than what is traditionally thought of as dangerous. It can include bullying or using information that is obtained during instant messaging conversations to blackmail a co-worker or acquaintance. 

No matter where you are using instant messaging (whether it is hosted or not), it is crucial to always pay attention to what you are saying. Do not trash your company, other co-workers, or pass on gossip that may not be true. This may come back to bite you, as some companies that have hosted messaging programs also have the ability to view, read, and monitor their users’ conversations. 

The bottom line is, do not write anything online that can come back to bite you! This is the cardinal rule of online communication. Instant messaging, e-mails, blogs, and anything else that you write online that can be traced back to you is important to your online image. Co-workers, bosses, and anyone else can find these electronic records. And if they are demeaning, malicious, or negative, it can affect your job, relationships, and lifestyle. Always be careful and remember, if it was written about you, how would you feel?