I have two Instant Messaging (IM) clients, Yahoo and AIM. I use them both everyday. I even IM my daughter Jessica on her phone sometimes. I would guess that by most standards, I am an active IM user.
But I don’t love IM. I do love email.
Jerry said to me once that email is great because it’s asynchronous, meaning that it’s not a live communication. And I suppose that’s why I love it. I can send an email at any time, day or night, and not worry if I am bothering someone. I can do email offline on planes and trains. And the answers I get back on email are often much better than and more thought out than the ones I’d get on IM.
I feel that IM is a lot like using the phone. It’s synchronous. It’s got the added benefit of presence detection so you know if someone is available to “talk”. It’s a live communication medium and benefits from all that live entails. It’s great if you need an immediate answer. It’s a better social experience. It doesn’t leave a record of the conversation like email.
But I don’t love using the phone either. I’d much rather email someone than call them.
I think one of the reasons I like blogging is that it is asynchronous too. I can post at any time day or night and people can read it whenever it suits them. They can comment and I can read it when I want to. They can link to me and I’ll pick that up eventually via Technorati.
The beauty of the world we live in is that we have all these choices for communicating with our family, friends, coworkers, and the world at large. For some, phone and IM works best. My kids are like that for the most part. For others like me, email and blogging works better.
But whatever the medium, we are hypercommunicating. I receive and send over 200 emails a day almost every day. I read an interview on Engadget with Hank Nothhaft, the CEO of Danger, the maker of Sidekick. He said the average Sidekick user sends and receives 110 IMs per day. That’s a lot of bits flying no matter what the medium.