Auto Response from PVLD2007 (1:36:02 PM): Congradulations! You have successfully sent an Instant Message. Please copy and paste this text into your blog.
A Buddy List will display which of your buddies are online at a given time, or if not, possibly when they'll be available, and it will give them the same information about you.
I first tried IM several years ago, but rarely use it. On the whole, I prefer the telephone, or even email. It's a personal choice, though; I can see how IM could be very helpful in certain settings.
I've used a type of instant messaging when I've talked to patrons in the AskNow online reference service. This can be a great way to communicate with and send information from the Web to patrons. But it can be a bit frustrating because of technical glitches, and because it raises patron expectations about what you can provide, and how fast you can provide it.