Tuesday, March 04, 2003


Do you IM?

A question: Do you currently use instant messaging as part of your work, or is it something you reserve for after hours or don't use at all? I love the instant message capability in Outlook XP--I can instantly contact an editor I know is online or trade a quick idea with a client. Companies are having some trouble knowing what to do with IM because it's not a traceable medium at this point and they can't secure IM communications the way they can email transmissions. In my city last week, a well-loved teacher at a local high school was fired because he traded an instant message with a student and it was forbidden as part of their communications policy. There was nothing inappropriate about the message--he simply broke the rule. Online this morning, I was participating in an online discussion at the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families about IM and teenagers. Some pundits are saying that instant messaging is wrecking our kids' ability to write fully developed, grammatical senses. Using "RUonline?" instead of "are you online" or LOL instead of "laughing out loud" is concerning language protectors and educators. My view is that communication is good in whatever form it takes; the more our kids learn to express themselves, the better; and fast communication is smart and can be a great asset for businesses. Let the kids communicate instantly with IM, but teach them grammar in the classroom. Why is it that we humans are so quick to judge something as good or bad instead of looking its potential and providing some reasonable guidelines for using it? Isn't there a middle-ground in there somewhere?

I'd be interested in your thoughts about IM--whether you use it and what you think of it--if you'd care to share your views with me. :) k

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