Archive for : May, 2018

What is Instant Messaging

According to Search Unified Communication, Instant messaging, often shortened to IM or IM’ing, is the exchange of near real-time messages through a stand-alone application or embedded software. Unlike chat rooms with many users engaging in multiple and overlapping conversations, IM sessions usually take place between two users in a private, back-and-forth style of communication.

One of the core features of many instant messenger clients is the ability to see whether a friend or co-worker is online and connected through the selected service — a capability known as presence. As the technology has evolved, many IM clients have added support for exchanging more than just text-based messages, allowing actions like file transfers and image sharing within the IM session.

Instant messaging differs from email in the immediacy of the message exchange. IM also tends to be session-based, having a start and an end. Because IM is intended to mimic in-person conversations, individual messages are often brief. Email, on the other hand, usually reflects a longer-form, letter-writing style.

Generally, IM users must know each other’s username or screen name to initiate an IM session or to add them to their contact list or buddy list. Once the intended recipient has been identified and selected, the sender opens an IM window to begin the session.

For IM’ing to work as intended, both users must be online at the same time, although nearly all instant messaging platforms now allow asynchronous interactions between online and offline users. If offline messaging is not supported, attempting to IM an unavailable user will result in a notification that the transmission cannot be completed. In addition, the intended recipient must be willing to accept instant messages, as it is possible to configure the IM client to reject certain users.

When an IM is received, it alerts the recipient with a window containing the incoming message. Or, depending on the user’s settings, a window could indicate an IM has arrived along with a prompt to accept or reject it.

Messaging App popularity workplace

Canadian Business reported there’s growing chatter in North America about adopting right-to-disconnect laws to free workers from being tethered to their phones around the clock, but some labor experts say that while the digital demands of work in the 21st century need to be openly discussed, rigid regulations and fines may not be the solution.

Quebec Solidaire’s Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois also tabled a private member’s bill in the Quebec national assembly last week that aims to “ensure that employee rest periods are respected by requiring employers to adopt an after-hours disconnection policy.” The proposal calls for fines between $1,000 to $30,000 for companies that refuse to draft a proper policy or reassess it annually to ensure it remains up to date and effective.

“For my parents’ generation, when you were leaving the office, you were actually leaving the office,” Nadeau-Dubois, 27, said last week. “It’s not true for my generation anymore. When you leave work, you still have to work because you have emails from your boss or colleague. The separation between professional life and private life is disappearing.”

As part of its public consultation earlier this year on how “labor standards should be updated to better reflect and respond to the new reality” of evolving workplaces, Employment and Social Development Canada released an online survey that included several questions about right-to-disconnect policies. One of the questions asked whether right-to-disconnect regulations should be one of the government’s “most important”labor issues.

“It’s always a good thing for parties to discuss their working conditions together,” says labor and employment lawyer Katherine Poirier, but she cautions that “over-regulating and imposing fines for employers is not always the right way to solve a situation.”

“The problem is there is no cookie-cutter solution in this area,” says Poirier, a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.