One objection I’ve always had to instant messaging is that all of the free programs available for doing this had numerous bells and whistles, as well as adware, spam, pop-ups, noises, animation, and whatnot. A second problem has been that the various systems don’t all talk to each other. Still, there are legitimate applications for IM. A nice “quiet” version of an IM client is the GAIM client. This works with AOL instant messaging, Yahoo, IRC, and Jabber, among others. It can also work with multiple systems simultaneously.
We are using IM for real-time chat during video conferences between the master control room and the sites in the field. It allows a short quick message from one site to another; ‘Raise the mic volume in Springfield! or ‘What number am I supposed to dial?’ Since the majority of technicians had AOL accounts, it was simple just to get another and assign it to my GAIM client.