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Business IM

A trend surfaced in the late 1990s. The phone companies saw that their data service line usage begin to eclipse voice usage. (Most of the data was comprised of email and Internet traffic.) Just as email obviated the need for faxes and snail mail, IM was impacting telephone usage (and in-person conversation). Telephone tag, frequent conversations, and face-to-face meetings could be replaced by short messages. An immediate response could be received without the need to stop working.

Soon, many in business discovered the advantages of IM in the workplace. Buddylists became a vital reference point because people could now get a sense of who was available and who was out to lunch. IM began to offer tangible advantages, such as presence detection, immediate response, and back-and-forth dialog. Questions could be asked and answered not only in real time but in less time than face-to-face communication, telephone calls, or email. The efficiency grew as the network expanded.


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