Now that video instant messaging is on the scene, there are many ways to use it, for both personal and business purposes.
For businesses, video instant messaging provides another link between associates, suppliers and customers. Sales people, for example, can provide their clients with free software that allows them to pop in virtually on each other when needed. The salesperson can "drop by" on the client's desktop to check on the client's supply inventory, while the client can do the same. This personal, face-to-face application is more personal, and allows for better communication through non-verbal (does the client's body language/facial expressions indicate he is happy, upset, confused?) clues that aren't present in textual instant messaging.
Businesses also can use video instant messaging for conferences among its associates located around the world. Such meetings are flexible and affordable. Often only one party must pay for the service, which allows him or her to supply clients with free downloadable software to participate [source: PC World].
Personal uses for video instant messaging are limited only by the user's creativity. Some use it to check up on friends and relatives. Families can use it for a weekly teleconference between children and grandparents. Traveling spouses can also use it to stay in touch in real-time.
As with any form of electronic communication, there are unwritten rules of conduct. For instance, use and pay attention to status icons, which can tell you whether your intended partner is in the mood to receive a video instant message or even available. Families might want to schedule regular video instant message sessions to ensure everyone has time to attend. Also, business people should use communication methods with which their clients are comfortable. No matter how cool you think video instant messaging is, it may simply annoy a customer who views it as an intrusion.
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