In my latest ABA Journal technology column, Get the (Instant) Message, Dude, I tried to put together a short primer for lawyers who use and are considering using instant messaging.
My motivation for the column:

Three different times last summer, I was standing in a line behind teenagers and saw one turn to another and say, “I wish my mom texted.” In fairness, I didn’t hear anyone wish his or her lawyer texted, but I have heard several lawyers tell me their clients want them to use instant messaging.

I outline two types of instant messaging and offer some examples of when and how lawyers might use instant messaging effectively.
I also give six tips for those of you starting out in the world of instant messaging without a child to help you out:

1. Text first on your cell phone, especially to family members who text and who will be tolerant of your learning curve.
2. Find effective, practical uses of mes­saging for your firm and your practice. Hint: collaboration.
3. Understand the risks and deal with them reasonably.
4. Standardize to one (or a few) platforms in your firm.
5. Avoid acronyms and emoticons until you learn how to use them appropriately (IMHO).
6. Finally, if you plan to do any significant amount of business texting, you should go for an unlimited text plan on your cell phone.

The column might also contain the first use of the OMG acronym in an ABA Journal article.
Here’s a link to the column. As always, I’m happy to hear what you think of the column and any of your ideas for future topics.
For another example of an instant messaging medium, check out the companion microblog for this blog on Twitter.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
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