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WASHINGTON – Credit unions venturing out on the leading edge by offering member services through instant messaging can expect to find increasing numbers of receptive consumers willing to take them up on it. According to the new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, some 42% of online Americans use instant messaging, and 24% of instant messagers say they use IM more frequently than e-mail. The survey’s authors say this translates to 53 million American adults who instant message and over 12 million who IM more than emailing. On a typical day, 29% of instant messengers-or roughly 15 million American adults-use IM. Not surprisingly, the younger the respondent, the more likely she or he was to be using IM. The survey found that 62% of those ages 18-27 report using IM, and 46% of report using IM more frequently than email. The workplace also is not immune to the trend. Twenty-one percent of IM-ing Americans do it at the office, where they say it encourages interoffice cooperation and increases work productivity. When asked who they contact most often during IM sessions at work, 40% of at-work IM users reported instant messaging coworkers, 33% reported friends and family, and 21% interact with both groups equally.

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