According to the second annual AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey, many IM users are spending time instant messaging from their cell phones.
The survey, which examined instant messaging trends and usage habits among 1,246 IM users, revealed that 25 percent of respondents send IMs from their cell phones, including one in three (32 percent) teens.
The proliferation of cell phones with full keyboards has made it easier to send mobile instant messages. All of the major instant messaging services also let users have their instant messages forwarded directly to their cell phones when they’re on-the-go. In addition, IM users are instant messaging from within their social networking profiles.
Instant messaging is not only popular at home and on-the-go, but workplace use is becoming commonplace. More than one in four (27 percent) users say they use instant messaging at work. Further, half of at-work IM users say that instant messaging makes them more productive at work, a 25 percent increase over last year.
“Instant messaging has made its way into so many areas of our lives and we can now take our buddies with us wherever we go. Whether on our mobile phones, our social profiles or on the desktop at work, our friends, family and co-workers are right there letting us know when they’re free for a question or just to chat,” said David Liu, Senior Vice President, AOL. “This survey also found that instant messaging is truly helping people become more productive and better manage their relationships wherever they may be.”
Top-line survey findings among users of instant messaging include:
* More than half (55 percent) of teen IM users have used instant messaging to get help with their homework. This is a 17 percent increase over last year. Meanwhile, 22 percent of teens say they have sent an IM to ask for or accept a date.
* Forty-three percent of teen IM users say they have used instant messaging to say something they would not say to someone in person. Teenage girls are more likely than boys to do so. Nearly half of teenage girls surveyed have used instant messaging to say something they would not say in person, compared with just over a third of teenage boys.
* Teens today are more likely to upload photos (42 percent in 2007 vs. 34 percent in 2006) while instant messaging. They are less likely to conduct online research for school (57 percent vs. 63 percent) or update their blog or social profile (33 percent vs. 42 percent) while sending IMs.
* Nearly three in four teens (70 percent) and one in four adults (24 percent) send more instant messages than emails.
* Multi-tasking remains very popular, as IM users tend to engage in multiple online activities while sending instant messages. Checking email is the most popular activity among eight in ten adult and teen IM users. After email, adult IM users most often conduct online searches (49 percent), while teens say they like to research homework assignments online (57 percent).
* Nearly four in five (79 percent) at-work IM users say they have used instant messaging in the office to take care of personal matters. One in five (19 percent) IM users say they send more instant messages than emails to their co-workers and colleagues.