AOL’s second annual instant-messaging trend survey shows that business use of IM is increasing. Approximately 27% of IM users now say they use it at work, compared with 16% in 2003. That means 24 million people in the U.S. use IM at work, mainly to:
- Communicate internally with colleagues (70%)
- Get answers and make business decisions (63%)
- Interact with clients and customers (34%)
- Avoid potentially difficult in-person conversations (11%)
- Touch base with children from the office for peace-of-mind (22%)
This survey applies to businesses of all sizes. And while I do not have any statistics to back this up, from my own experience it seems that freelancers, the self-employed and small businesses are big users of IM. Routinely I will be on the phone with a small business owner or employee, and hear the familiar ba-da-loomp sound of an AOL instant message arriving in the background. What about you?