Putting the ‘Instant’ in Instant Messaging

Making all of our communication instant, in text messages, emails, cell phone calls, and finally, instant messaging, has made us a society of expecting an answer right away. While sometimes this has made us more efficient, effective, and better communicators, it has also made us somewhat impatient.

If I see that a friend of mine is online, and their buddy name is marked as “Available”, I get irritated if I try to talk to them and ask them a question, and they don’t respond. This is probably the only communication medium where I feel this way. For text messages, emails, or phone calls, I don’t get antsy if I don’t get an immediate response.

I guess that is why it’s called ‘instant’ messaging- the status messages are there for a reason- so we can mark ourselves as ‘Busy’, ‘Away’, ‘Available’  or a short message of what we are doing in case people wish to contact us. This is definitely not something we can do with text, phone calls, or emails (unless we are gone for a long period of time and can set an email auto-responder).

A important rule of thumb is to utilize your status messages- if you cannot talk or respond, then set your status message as ‘Away’ or ‘Busy’ with a time of when you’ll be able to talk again (if possible).


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!