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August 04, 2005

Do you IM?

Is this the BEGINNING of the END of EMAIL?

And the rise of IM?

If youth are the future drivers of the Internet and a precursor of Internet behavior, your organization and others better take note of a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life project.

In a review of the study, for Forbes, The Digital Life, Lisa Dicarlo wrote:

According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life project, barely 5% of American teens aged 12 to 17 prefer e-mail over instant messaging as their digital communications method of choice. Teens view e-mail as a way to talk to "old people" or institutions like companies. Kids, it seems, prefer the immediacy and mobility of instant messaging and text messaging to e-mail, which they might some day refer to as snail mail, the same way most people over 30 refer to the U.S. Postal Service.

The Pew report found that, 89 percent of Internet users check and use their email daily. This represents about the same percentage as they recorded in 2000. That may be good news for alumni and development organizations but wait.  The study goes on to say, that the “popularity” of email and the intensity of its use is waning” in favor of IM. The report showed that some teens have as many as seven screen names to accommodate the huge number of friends they have added to their buddy lists. Providers typically limit users to 200 names within one screen name, hence the need for multiple names.

While we have had 10 years to enjoy the benefits of email, it appears that the next generation of Internet users will be favoring IM as their IM is considered a “presence” technology which lets users know when and if you are available.  It’s becoming a popular and powerful tool.   

What are you doing to connect with your alumni via IM? 

Adopt a University branded IM tool

Products are available today that will provide you a branded IM product which your students and alumni can use to IM. These IM tools will incorporate the most popular IM products all in one so your alumni and student can IM others regardless if they are on AOL Instant Message, Microsoft, Yahoo or others IM products. It’s kind of like a universal remote; it will understand and accept messages from any IM company. This is a fantastic value added tool to provide your graduates and alumni.

One of the benefits of these products is you can send broadcast IM messages to all alumni and or users at any time to remind them of events, activities, deadlines and opportunities. You don’t have to email them, and won’t have to worry about your email getting caught in spam filters, or not being read.

Who said your job was easy? 

In order to match your alumni’s ever expanding expectations, you need to continue to look at their current Internet behavior. As you develop your strategy over the next 3 years, IM technology should be high on your list of “must” haves.

What’s your opinion?  We need your thoughts and comments!  Does this make sense to you?  Have a different opinion?  How are you using IM?  Talk back and share your thoughts!  Want more information about IM firms?  Email me at don@iaccorp.com

Posted by Don Philabaum on August 4, 2005 at 06:34 PM | Permalink


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If U want 2 market 2 a/s/l = 12-17/m,f/cyberspace, then yeah, U bttr get hip 2 the jive :o)

Posted by: Phil Anthropoid | Aug 9, 2005 2:03:15 PM

"Speak when spoken too." That's what my grandfather used to tell me. I won't use IM to push my university's goals because it could ultimately undermine the same goals.

Spam is in the eye of the beholder. And spam is spam regardless of the tool used to deliver it. IM is real-time, two-way correspondence between peers. By inviting ourselves into that conversation, we only show our ignorance of the ways of the younger generation.

The power of IM is knowing who else is online at that moment. It's sort of like walking around at the high school football game to see who else is there. You want to see and be seen.

I don't need to know when a particular alumni is online and they probably don't need to know when I am online. I just need to be comfortable corresponding through IM services in case someone invites me into a conversation.

The true benefit of IM is in strengthening connections between alumni. Imagine two old roommates IM'ing after finding each other's screen names on their alumni profiles.

They reap the immediate reward of catching up on their lives. I might not realize a benefit from that interaction for years to come.

And that's okay. A community doesn't exist for it's own benefit today. It exists for it's continued growth tomorrow.

Posted by: Bob | Aug 15, 2005 2:53:06 PM

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