Instant Messaging and Work

A few years ago, ancient times now, I was discussing with another freelancer the best way to communicate with colleges, and we decided that is was instant messaging. Back then, i only had dial up, so it wasn’t very practical so I didn’t pursue it too much, nor did I try to get a long list of people to add to my friends list.

These days, I have DSL, and I have many clients that are on IM as well as several friends. Instead of picking up the phone, or sending an email, I can just ping them, ask the question, and move on. I now list it on my signature in my email. More that a few clients have picked up my IM from there, and communicate with me that way most of the time. It used to be that I could say I had never seen clients in person. In some case, now, I can say that I have not only never met them in person, but also never spoken to them.

In theory, I suppose, I could be anywhere in the world, these days, with IM, as I am only limited by when people are awake. In fact, I have been asked from time-to-time, what time zone I am in, as I seem to always to be around in IM.

And thus we come to the bad part of IM. If you say you are out, people see that you are out, and wonder when you are returning. Some of my clients have solved this by having smart phones, so they are always one, when they aren’t even in front of their computer. One of my friends is planning a trip next year, a cruise, where she will be on-line the whole time, and pinging people while sailing through the Panama Canel, and no one will be the wiser.

And people won’t need to call her either, because as long as she is on IM, people can reach her. I sometimes get frustrated, these days if II can’t reach someone via
IM. I don’t want to send an email. That takes too long, and I don’t
have, or don’t want to use the phone, because it is only, what I liked
to call, a post-card question. Nothing that one wants to call up and
chat with someone about.

Because of lot of clients don’t want to be stuck with one IM client, I have Fire, which allows me to have multiple accounts with different providers and see them all at the same time. That is the good new. The bad news is that Fire is not being updated any longer, so soon I will have to go to a new program. The good news is that they point me to a new one Adium. Bad news, is I don’t like it…yes. As with all new things, I’m quite sure it will grow on me, but for now, I think, I will stick with Fire, until it has outgrown the Operating System I am on.


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