We live in a day and age of instant messaging. Be it simple messaging applications like WhatsApp, iMessage or Line, VoiP systems like Skype that are pushing instant messaging by keeping them at the center or business instant messaging like Slack, Jabber or Google+ Hangouts, there is no doubt that we are surrounded by these applications and use at least one of them everyday for personal or professional reasons.
The ease and speed of using instant messaging has come a long way with smartphones being cheaply and easily available, and good internet speeds available through Wi-Fi as well as cellular networks. There is no doubt in saying that instant messaging is more convenient and less cumbersome to use than emails. There are many internal business processes that are now done through these messaging apps, that were earlier done through emails. In a dynamic field such as digital marketing, it is always easy to WhatsApp a creative to a client for approval and post it on their social media channel. We can shy away from this, but there is no escaping it. The same task, when done over email takes several hours as (in most cases) people respond to instant messages earlier than emails.
Despite all the advantages that instant messaging has, a big disadvantage the people often ignore about messaging is long-term accountability. If something, somewhere goes wrong and one must dig into historical data for information, searching text/instant messages becomes a nightmare. Searchability in instant messaging has improved but is nowhere as close to what we have in emails. Another drawback of using instant messaging platforms over email for businesses is the fact that it is often difficult to copy all the concerned personnel in every relevant message. This practice is easy on emails using the good ‘ol CC and BCC.
Both instant messaging and emails have their own purpose and advantages and we should remember what they are the best suited for. We strongly recommend using emails for all business communication because of trackability and searchability, while instant messaging can be used for reminders, general communication and emergencies. It is safe to say that instant messaging apps are here to stay in the business world, but they are no replacement for emails.