Jason Lee Miller | Staff Writer for WebProNews
Instant messaging is overtaking email as the preferred way to communicate, especially among teens and young adults. Overall, IM’s are up 19 percent year over year, with many Americans sending as many, if not more, IM’s than they do emails, according to AOL’s Instant Messaging Trends Survey.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents say they send as many or more IM’s than emails. But for teens and young adults that number is vastly higher with two-thirds reporting they send more IM’s than emails, up from 49 percent last year.
At work, 58 percent of IM users send instant messages to colleagues for answers to questions, 49 percent to make business decisions, and 29 percent use IM to interact with customers or clients. Twelve percent have used IM to avoid a difficult face-to-face conversation.
Nearly half of IM users ages 13-21 change their away message every day. Most of them leave a message to let their friends and family know where they are, while others list an alternative method of reaching them or post a favorite lyric or quote.
“Instant messaging is a part of everyday life, with more and more people using their IM service as a starting point for all communications, from sending mobile messages to friends on cell phones to placing VoIP-based phone calls,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, vice president and general manager, AIM and ICQ, America Online, Inc.
“Usage is spiking, and not just among teens. Parents, grandparents and professionals are all using instant messaging to stay in touch and enhance their day-to-day communications.”
Across the globe, 300 million people regularly use instant messaging, with 80 million in North America. The top ten US cities that have the highest rates of IM’s are:
1. Miami, FL;
2. New York, NY;
3. Boston, MA;
4. Chicago, IL;
5. Atlanta, GA;
6. Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX;
7. Detroit, MI;
8. San Francisco, CA;
9. Sacramento, CA;
10. Tampa, FL.