Mobile instant messaging helps quick-paced dialogue

The often hectic and travel-filled schedules of today's PR pros are no excuse for them to avoid contact with their employees that are seated at their desks in agency offices

The often hectic and travel-filled schedules of today's PR pros are no excuse for them to avoid contact with their employees that are seated at their desks in agency offices.

To keep in touch with staffers, and to maintain a private and quick-paced dialogue, PR executives often use mobile instant messaging services to chat with employees at their computers.

"A lot of us are commuters to big cities, which means we're on trains, and as much as we like to hear ourselves talk, [mobile instant messaging] becomes a good way to carry on a conversation without everyone else hearing," says Ann Barlow, Peppercom partner and president, West Coast. "It's a little speedier than e-mail and a little more conversational."

Agency employees can also use mobile instant messaging to reach an off-site team member to quickly discuss strategy while in a meeting, Barlow adds.

"If you're carrying on a conversation with a business or a new contact, it can be a handy way to have a quick discussion about things you might want to bring up," she says.

Michael Beno, VP of Ruder Finn, used the technology while working on a recent effort where RF employees in New York and Chicago had to speak with each other from separate conference rooms in both cities.

"As we were doing this call, I was using mobile instant messaging to communicate with the other team, and one of those people was at a computer [using] regular IM," he says, adding that PC-based instant messaging is ubiquitous in RF's Chicago office. "It's such a good thing to fall back on... I don't use it very much these days, but it's a good thing to use in a situation like that."

Key points:
  • Mobile instant messaging is a good way to keep info private while at an airport
  • Mobile employees can use it to give advice to colleagues near a computer
  • It is an effective way to speak with multiple teams

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