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Do You IM? Instant Messaging. Michael Stephens Instant Messaging Stats. IM is here! (AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey, August ‘04) 80 million Americans use IM (27%) 250 million world wide 7 billion messages sent each day Pew Internet Study

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do you im instant messaging

Do You IM?Instant Messaging

Michael Stephens

instant messaging stats
Instant Messaging Stats
  • IM is here! (AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey, August ‘04)
    • 80 million Americans use IM (27%)
    • 250 million world wide
    • 7 billion messages sent each day
  • Pew Internet Study
    • 53 million American adults use instant messaging and its appeal is especially apparent among young adults and technology enthusiasts.
a timeline
A Timeline
  • CIL 2004: A kerfuffle in the back of the ballroom
  • Some libraries jump in
  • Articles and more presentations
  • 2006: LibSuccess wiki lists 65 IM Libs
do you im survey
Do You IM? Survey
  • Not IRB Approved
  • 647 Respondents / 95.3% in Libraries
  • 89.8% were US residents
do you im
Do You IM?
  • Are Librarians building networks of contacts via IM to work better?
  • Are they reaching their users?
  • Is this “community?”
  • What are the barriers?

“Social aggregators that emerge from the Net when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships in cyberspace” Rheingold, 1993

building community
Building Community…
  • IM communication builds community between colleagues - 89% agree or somewhat agree
  • I feel like I'm part of the community of IMing librarians - 53% disagreed or somewhat disagreed
i live in a bubble
I live in a Bubble
  • I have IM contacts in libraries throughout my country on my Buddy List - 66% disagree
  • I have IM contacts in libraries all over the world on my Buddy List - 84% disagree
  • It's made it easier to communicate and to arrange meetings, carpools, etc.
  • I can discuss projects in real time with colleagues that are thousands of miles away or right down the road. It makes collaborating easier and opens up many doors.
im has begun to build bridges across the traditional staff faculty divide

IM has begun to build bridges across the traditional staff/faculty divide.

Academic Librarian respondent


Many librarians in my library system would like to use IM both for reference and for staff purposes. However, this library system is very reluctant to change and slow to respond to most new ideas. I feel very discouraged when I meet with professionals in other library systems that get to try new things.

barriers intrusive
Barriers: Intrusive
  • I don't use it. email works just fine for me, without the intrusiveness of IM.
  • E-mail is much better, or the phone.
barriers time
Barriers: Time
  • We are a small staff and don't have time to be confined to the computer
barriers it issues
Barriers: IT Issues
  • Our City IT has forbidden its use for security reasons, so we rely on email, phone, and face-to-face conversations to communicate and maintain relationships.
barriers digital divide at work
Barriers: Digital Divide at Work
  • Creates a digital divide, lots of LastGen librarians at MPOW who don't use it and are out of the loop.
  • I think IM in my public library is an example of the generation gap between staff members. We do not allow patrons to IM on library computers, and staff are not supposed to IM, either.
our work is not yet done1
Our Work is Not yet Done!
  • More education
  • More case studies/ “stories”
  • A guide to librarian’s IM names on a wiki
  • More discussion with key players
  • Examination of security issues
case study im at sjcpl
Case Study: IM at SJCPL
  • Internal and External
  • Extensive Training
  • Adoption Curve
  • Temporary VR Replacement
faster im

Ask Questions



Ease of Use

Return on Investment

IM can be a cost-effective means for any library to have a virtual reference presence in virtual spaces where our users already live!


Stephens, FASTER IM, Computers in Libraries, April 2006

  • Add IM to reference desk duties
  • Becomes part of the workflow
  • Is not overwhelming!
  • Build it into your info policy
ask questions
Ask Questions
  • The Reference interview is till the same, just a new medium!
  • Be open and inviting
  • Have some prepared statements
  • Use a multi-client application
  • Open source is an option
  • Trillian
  • Gaim
  • Fire (Mac)
  • Get some training screenames
  • Practice
  • Send URLs, PDFs and Docs
  • As Questions
  • Play!
  • IM is Easy:
  • Patrons Use it!
  • Staff can communicate
  • Training is minimal
  • It’s FREE!
return on investment
Return on Investment:
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Gets librarians out into the world where users are
  • Creates community
messaging voip
Messaging: VoIP
  • Skype - “phone” calls via software
  • Communicate across distance with a high speed connection and the software
  • Should this be available on our user PCs
  • Should we be doing “Skype-Ref?’
best practices for im
Best Practices for IM
  • Make IM part of your technology plan
  • Promote your screen name and service
  • Admin should be messaging as well
  • Train and encourage staff to interface via IM from their desks
  • Add your IM name to your business cards, sig files, presence



thank you
Thank You!
  • AIM: mstephens7mac