Today's launch of Kerio Connect 8.1 brings instant messaging capabilities into the corporate realm and behind the firewall. While you may want to use your personal Skype or Yahoo Messenger because it's simple, in business you may not want to be known as BeerDude1980 to your colleagues. Having a business email address on your favorite IM network is a better way to go. So now that Kerio Connect provides both email and IMs via its server, the question is: when do you IM and when do you email?
The answer...it depends. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Email has some issues, but it is the most widely used, and accepted form of electronic communication.
It is universal. Everyone has an email address, and you can send a message from any email provider to any email provider.
You can send a single message to a large group of people. Rather than engaging in various instant messaging situations, you can communicate with an entire team, or list of individuals at once.
It provides a written record. Messages can be centrally stored and archived.
It is slow. “Slow” is a relative term, since email messages are delivered to the other side of the world in a matter of minutes—perhaps seconds. But, when a message is actually retrieved is a function of the mail server and email client software, and you don’t really know when it is actually read.
It's often ignored or simply missed because the receiver's inbox is overrun with emails.
Instant messaging is fast – it has “instant” right in the name. It is a particularly good tool for communicating within an organization.
It is instant. Assuming the intended target is online, the message will be received as soon as you send it.
It is brief. Instant messaging tends to be confined to a single thought or sentence rather than a lengthy essay.
It is conversational. Instant messaging has an immediate back and forth exchange that lets you collaborate in real-time.
It is intrusive. Instant messages pop up on the screen, announcing their presence s when you’re in the middle of doing something else.
You need to sign in. If you don’t log in to your instant messaging service of choice, nobody can communicate with you.
You lose the history. You can log your instant messaging communications, but each exchange is like an island unto itself. When you need to reflect back on a chain of communication a year from now, instant messaging logs will not be very helpful.
So there you have it. I personally use IMs for short internal communication (and some video chatting) while using email for everything else. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
Original article available on our blog.
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