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Unintended results of instant messaging: the evidence of presence

Estimates of the number of US businesses that use instant messaging (IM) range from 50 to 90 percent, with the range due to the frequency that individuals have acted on their own when no corporate IM is available. Large numbers have downloaded and are using commercial IM packages (Fin. Times, Oct. 28, 2005 at 9).

Many in-house counsel have IM capabilities. Observers of the IM scene note that it is especially useful when you have to exchange a lot of specific information. They also note that you cannot hide, if your IM system shows you are at your computer. This visibility is what is meant by the term “presence.”

Clients, colleagues, outside counsel, and managers know you are there – assuming you have turned on your IM light – and that you are accessible. Being on-call all the time becomes even more likely with IM presence.

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