Communication Links Tips Workplace

Controlling IM Spam

Here at Hosted IM World, we’ve had some problems lately controlling spam comments that are appearing on our blog. Just since Sunday, we have had over 50 spam comments from people trying to sell everything from Viagra to photos of  Megan Fox nude. We have no choice but to spend time clicking ‘Spam’ on each of the 52 comments, hoping for it to die down. In the mean time, researching plugins and steps to take to cut down on the number of spammers may also help.

Just as there are spam emails and spam blog comments, there are also spammers that threaten to bother you on an instant messenger program. The download instant messenger programs I’ve had the most trouble with are MSN Messenger and AIM (although AIM has significantly cut down on this recently).

In order to combat spam IMs, which is the occurrence of random screen names sending you messages that say something along the lines of “Look at this cool new product I’ve found!” or “Still need a job? Visit this site”, you can do 2 things:

  1. Change your privacy settings to make you unsearchable and only give your screen name out to people you trust.
  2. If you have a severe problem with spam, change your screen name and then do step 1.
  3. Download instant messenger programs that are hosted on a secure server, like the new *free* Public Brosix 3 Beta, which is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. This will close your IM activity from the rest of the internet, eliminating spam.

As technology develops, spam will hopefully decrease, but until that time, download instant messenger programs that have good spam filters and are dedicated to eliminating sketchy users with bad intentions.

Communication Tips Workplace

What Instant Messenger Features are Important to You?

When you are using an instant messenger, what features do you utilize the most? There are more and more “extras” that because use in instant messenger conversations every day. Some of these features include:

  • Video Chat
  • Voice Chat
  • File Transfer
  • Drawing Boards (like the award-winning Brosix whiteboard)
  • Group Chat Rooms

For me personally, I use the text messaging most (which is obviously the basic purpose of IM), but I also use the file transfer a lot to send funny pictures to friends or to have a co-worker check an article I am writing for one of our client’s websites.

I would like to use group chat and video chat a lot more, but since most of the people that are on my buddy list don’t like to use it or unable to use it due to the instant messaging program they are using, which doesn’t support it. For contacts that I don’t see much, video chat is a great option because it allows me to converse with them without having to use my cell phone minutes. It’s free, and I also get to see their face while I am talking to them, which often makes communication a lot clearer.

Are there any instant messenger features besides the ones above that you use every day? Or, do you use group chat a  lot and have a story to share? Post a comment!

Communication News Tips

Instant Info You Need To Know

Besides providing a resource for instant communication, IM can always be used for several other purposes.  Many companies use IM for question and answer sessions between employees, but IM can also be used to spread news and vital information that people need to know.

Due to the changing economy, there are more and more breaking news stories every day. Because some of these may be pertinent to your business or industry, you can use instant messaging to communicate relevant news links and other information that they may need to see.

For example, whenever I want to show one of my co-workers a great link, I just send it in an instant message. Then, this can spark conversation about the article that may give us some great ideas for projects or how to develop an idea to make it stand out from the crowd.

I believe that staying up-to-date, with what is happening around the world and in your industry specifically, is the best way to stay ahead of the competition and make sure that your company thinks of things first. No matter what the industry, from carpet cleaning to wildlife conservation, it pays to stay abreast of current events and what’s happening that’s relevant to your company.

General Tips

How to Make IM Fun

Even though hosted and secure instant messaging is probably considered to be the “serious” side of IM, there are many fun features that can make even “business” programs entertaining. One of the most fun features of my favorite secure instant messaging program, Brosix, is whiteboard. It is sort of like a collaborative Microsoft “Paint” program where everyone can draw, sketch, and color in ideas. For a visual learner and creative person like me, I really enjoy using it.

Another fun feature of secure instant messaging programs is file transfers. Whenever I find a really funny picture online or I get one as a forward in my email inbox. Using file transfer makes it really easy to share files (like pictures) in a matter of no time. And even though I use a hosted IM client to talk with my co-workers and clients, there’s no reason why I can’t use a secure client for talking with my mom, brother, and close friends! With so many hackers and people in the internet just waiting around to hack into consumers’ computers. Most of the time, these hackers do it for fun. I can’t believe it! And with this age of growing and developing technology, hacking is getting easier then ever, especially for people who have something to gain.

So, just remember, even thought you can use hosted IM to have fun, just remember that it will also be there to protect you and your personal data.

Tips Workplace

Is Lack of Communication Holding You Back?

What many CEOs, new buisness owners, or managers promoted from a lower role assume is, that if you get a group of people together, then they will all eventually be able to communicate effectively. However, it is crucial to realize that this is simply not the case at all. Because people have different communication styles, they are more likely to find it harder to relate to others who perfer a different type of communication.

Many people are visual learners- they like to learn by doing- taking notes, watching a  video presentation, etc. Many are audio learners- they would rather listen to an audiobook then to actually read the book themselves. And, with how people learn, comes how people communicate. It is often the same type of way. For example, an audio learner would much rather pick up the phone and call another co-worker, or go talk to them in person, instead of sending an email or memo. Conversely, many visual learners appreciate being able to communicate by email (I am definitely a visual learner and communicator!).

Fortunately, I believe that there is a form of communication that has some middle ground- and that is using hosted instant messaging, like Brosix, or a free messaging system like AIM. For audio learners, they get to have the feel of a real-time telephone or in-person communication, and for visual learners, they get the text component of an email. Meeting in the middle is sometimes the best way to create the best communication environment for your company.

Communication General Tips

Hosted IM For Familes

I know that many companies and organizations use hosted instant messaging for their daily workplace communication, but have you thought about using a hosted IM for family use?

Some software companies like Brosix offer a free hosted messaging program that is secure and can be used for families. Some of the reasons why families might enjoy Brosix or another secure IM client is because they can:

  • Stay in touch in different places
  • Talk to children while the parents are at work
  • Stay in touch with other family members when gone on business
  • Divorced parents can talk to children when not at their home

As you can see, hosted IM clients can go beyond use in the workplace. For any one that needs a safe and secure way to communicate online, these clients are the way to go. Many parents and children will find that talking online when they are unable to talk on the phone or through email can be very efficient and even make them closer together. 

I often talk to my mom on our instant messaging program and it allows us to stay in touch because we live about 2 hours away from one another. It also really cuts down on the cost of daytime cell phone minutes and text messages used.


Communication Tips Workplace

Instant Messaging is Fun!


Instant messaging is a fun way to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers. And what better way to communicate online then by doing it with a hosted instant messaging program like Brosix? Hosted IM programs take out all the stress and worry of online communication so you can go back to focusing on the most important part of IM- talking with others (whether it be for fun or for business). 

Why is instant messaging so fun? Well, it is definitely hard to put a finger on. To me, I believe that instant messaging is fun because it gives you time to think about what you are going to say and the smileys and emoticons make communication more laidback and easy to do. When I was working full-time as a Marketing Coordinator in the corporate world, I loved the fact that instant messaging programs were allowed on our computers. It made it easy to ask a fellow co-worker how their birthday was while also asking another co-worker about a project that was due.

Maybe hosted instant messaging is so fun because it is so easy. Being able to talk to several people instantly at once (and in private conversations) is something that can only be done with instant messaging. You can’t do it on the phone, over e-mail, or even in person. 

So go ahead, get wild and crazy and go find yourself a hosted instant messaging program.  You’ll thank me!