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Email vs instant messaging – Which is the better choice?

You might be aware that instant messaging is on the rise. According to the Radicati Group, instant messaging accounts will peak at around 4.3 billion next year (2016). Apparently, email accounts will also peak at the same number, which suggests that instant messaging will be just as popular as email by 2016.

So, does this mean that email and instant messaging will become rivals? Is it possible that instant messaging could replace email as the primary form of online communication? Which one would you prefer to use if you were given the choice? You would think that most people would say email, but that might not be the obvious answer for much longer.

One of the big advantages that gives email the edge over instant messaging is the ability to carry attachments. Instant messaging is a stripped down version of email that comes with little to no anti-virus or security for attachments. When it comes to sending documents and files to others, the natural choice is email.

However, shared document servers and cloud services like Dropbox have opened up other avenues for businesses to share files. Now, you can just send a link to a recipient so they can access a file from another location. This is also more efficient for email archiving purposes as you are linking to a single document and not clogging up your archive.

Archiving is another reason why many users and businesses favor email over instant messaging. With an email archiver, email is automatically stored within a mailbox and a user can easily search for an old message in seconds. When instant messaging is used, there is no automatic mailbox as messages are instant and disposable. However, instant messaging archiving is now becoming available and is steadily growing in popularity.

If instant messaging archiving grows in popularity, it could eventually surpass email. It is a more flexible method of communication than email and responses are usually quicker.

Do you think you would still choose email over instant messaging or has email now had its day?