co Networking Through Instant Messaging: Good or Bad? |

Instant messaging has opened up a whole new type of networking. You don´t have to be face to face, but you can talk in real time. Often, you can even choose to speak audibly to the other person or use a webcam to make the experience more personal. This can be invaluable for meeting with other people and networking, especially if you hold a conference chat with several people at once.

However, instant messaging isn´t always a good idea. Here are the good points, first.

  • You can carry on a conversation, almost like you would in real life.
  • Links are easily shared by simply copying and pasting.
  • You can set up shared folders to send files back and forth.
  • It´s free to network with people around the world.

When is instant messaging a bad idea? Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject.

  • If you aren´t careful, IM can take up all your time.
  • It´s easy to get chatting about Paris Hilton or something equally unproductive!
  • Time differences can make this a very awkward way to meet up.
  • You may not want some people to know that you are online at times.

Instant messaging for networking can be a great way to go, but only if you manage your time well. Don´t spend hours chatting about the weather. If you are an IM addict, you may find it useful to set time limits, such as only allowing yourself to chat at certain times of the day. Find a way to manage it and turn it off if you find yourself distracted. Networking should be something that helps your business, not something that takes you away from it.

Caroline
Small Business Mavericks
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