I have to admit that I just started using instant messaging. I never really saw the need and never wanted to bypass using email for something like instant messaging so I just stuck with email. Several months ago we brought on a new associate who pretty quickly said that we should use instant messaging so we all decided to give it a try. The challenge came quickly with trying to figure out which application to use – AOL, MSN, Google, Yahoo, and others all seemed to pretty much do the same thing. We tried several applications and ended up sticking with MSN.
I quickly got fed up with all of the adds and such using MSN, so I started using an open source free tool called Pidgin (http://www.pidgin.im/). The advantage to using a too like Pidgin is that it allows me to connect to multiple services at the same time and there is no advertising and a very crisp interface. No more ads for me was good enough, but since I was using an instant messaging application I found others that I work with on things outside of the organization using a different flavor than the MSN one I was using. Now I can have multiple accounts on different systems and talk with people inside and outside the organization without the need to use multiple applications.
For me the downside to instant messaging is that this gives another path for communication. I’m already in overload needing to deal with just e-mail and multiple phones. I find myself sending/receiving emails to people while also carrying on instant messaging conversations with then at the same time. Luckily I have not added voice at the same time, but I fear that day may come.
So what do you use for instant messaging and why did you choose that application? Do you find yourself using it over other types of communication? Am I the only one that using multiple tools to communication with the same person?