Instant Messaging (IM) is great – and there’s still a lot of scope for corporate adoption. It’s particularly useful when you want to ask a quick question to someone who you don’t really know that well. It’s not as scary as calling someone you’ve never met, and it’s a lot quicker than an email which usually has to have a lot of “I’m sorry for bothering you this way but I got your name from abc and I was wondering if you could possibly help me find how I can do …”.
An instant message can look like “Hi – it’s Jon here from accounts. Do you know where I can find the official expense form?” and the reply can be instant, whereas an email may not be replied to for days, if at all (especially if the person you’re trying to contact is on holiday).
However, whereas you can get the answer quickly, I find it can be difficult to actually end an instant messaging conversation, especially if it is with someone you don’t know. Here’s an example:
A : “Hi – I heard you might be able to help me find x”
B : “Sure – it’s here : http://jonmell.co.uk/. Once you’ve filled it in send it to email@example.com.
A : “That’s great.”
B : “No worries”
A : “Many thanks for your help”
B : “Sure don’t worry about it.”
A : “See you later”
B : “Bye”
A : “Bye”
It definitely happens more with people you don’t know so well – if you know someone I guess it’s more comfortable just to end the conversation without doing so formally. Anyone else observed this behaviour in themselves/others?