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Pros and Cons of Instant Messaging

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 1/24/2011

Instant messaging has become a great asset to people, allowing them to talk to family, friends, and even strangers through the power of the internet. But while there are advantages, there are also downsides to IMs.Learn here some of the advantages and disadvantages of instant messaging.

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    With the introduction of the Internet, much of our communication has been done through the screen of our computer monitors or even through our phones. One of the many additions to this was that of instant messaging. Instant messaging, or IMs, allow for instant communication to anyone in the same city, in a different state, or anywhere in the world.

    With the real time response in speaking to someone as though they were in the same room, there are both advantages and disadvantages of instant messaging. In this article, we'll look at a few cases of the advantages and the disadvantages of this instant technology.

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    Advantages of Instant Messaging

    There are many advantages to using instant messages. The very concept is to put people together when they aren't in the same city or Pros and Cons of Instant Messaging even the same country. Now, with online gaming, friends and strangers can group together in order to take down an evil boss; businesses and companies can do business through the use of IMs from either the office or that of their phone. Other advantages are -

    • Ability to keep in contact with family and friends when not in the same city, state, or country.
    • Ability to make new friends from all around the world.
    • Sending messages to co-workers or employees as short messages in the workplace.
    • Ability to speak to multiple people online at the same time either through several IM windows or inviting people to a chat room.

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    Disadvantages of Instant Messaging

    As with anything online, there are of course disadvantages. While the real time response is great, IMs do take away the face to face, personal experience that people have when they are speaking to someone in person. You can't really get a very good emotional bead on someone through IM nor are you sure of who you are talking to through IM, which can be dangerous if you aren't careful. Other disadvantages include -

    • Inability to gauge emotional well being through IM.
    • Uncertainty that the person you are talking to is the person you are talking to. This can be dangerous, especially for teens, as there's no guarantee of knowing who the person is or how old they are.
    • Possibility of getting viruses from people you don't know.
    • Lkelihood of miscommunication. Because a screen separates people, some individuals may not feel the need to use the appropriate netiquette.
    • Potential for misuse. Workplaces now have certain rules when it comes to using IMs, which if ignore, could lead to loss of employment.

    With the wide variety of different applications for not only desktop and laptop applications, you can also IM from your smart phone or cell phone that has the IM capability. So much diversity means that IM users need to be vigilant in making sure that they protect themselves from malicious and dangerous threats that may present themselves.

    Image content @ author, via Trillian