My dad refuses to use IM, says it's a hassle. "Just email me" he says "I am not tethered to my PC like you ya know!".
Some of us use Instant Messaging and Email everyday, nearly always in contact and never far from a PC. There are many who shy away from IM because it's too instant. They are busy during the day and do not have much time for impromptu conversations on a PC and you can forget about them using IM on a wireless device. The have learned email and that frankly that is working just fine for them.
I am getting this not just from my aging retired parents but also professionals I know in the industry. They are busy! No time for IM conversations and they want to be able to track the conversations they have without a great deal of trouble.
Dad said he would probably use it more if they could pick up the IM messages he missed in the same Inbox as his email and when it's convenient for him, via online web mail or in Outlook on his laptop.
I wanted to suggest a work-around but when I started thinking about this I could not for the life of me come up with an easy solution that would work for him. I don't know of any hosted services out there nor are there any plug-ins for the likes of MS Outlook that allow for shared IM and Mail message retrieval. My Dad uses Outlook and I read somewhere that there are 400 Million Outlook users out there today. There are hundreds of millions of users on various IM clients. Why can't we retrieve offline or online IM messages (regardless of his IM client) in Outlook?
Yes, MSN Messenger has "pager mode" but it doesn't work when the user is offline. There are often times when I forget (sometimes for days) to log into the current 5 IM clients I run and I end up missing conversations and sometimes opportunities. Those messages should come through to my email and also be stored on a central server if I so choose, although web mail would be fine for this. Attachments could be sent via IM and end up in your email inbox, there are some security concerns here.
In the mobile world this makes even more sense, who has time to deal with IM on a mobile device? BlackBerries are popular with the business crowd because they can get their email just about anywhere and when it's convenient for them. If you want to communicate with those people it had better be email, and many of them have IM.