Instant messaging applications should matter to IT –

On the surface, it would seem that instant messaging software is not relevant to the IT community or for corporate use. But that is not the case. Many workers, even though attached to the Internet through their corporate T1 or T3 connections, are using products such as America Online's Instant Messenger service because it is actually faster than email.

How can this be? Many email clients check for new mail at predetermined intervals, such as every five or every 10 minutes. Instant massaging, on the other hand, is just that: instantaneous. Send a message from your desk in Los Angeles to a colleague in Boston, and it arrives at its destination in seconds. Easy to use, these services are faster than picking up the phone, are perfect for quick exchanges of conversation and, in many cases, can be used for transferring files. They are free, and ensure privacy.

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