Personally, I'm not a huge fan of chat abbreviations. I use whole words when I'm texting, and sometimes I even spell out the word "okay".
That being said, I think Instant Messaging is incredibly useful, and that there are many ways that we could use it within the library to make our work easier. IM Reference is, of course, one of them, and I'll talk about that in a bit, but I think it could also be extremely useful for communication between different branches.
For example, say I'm at Princess Anne, and I need to contact Great Neck to see if they have a particular title that one of our customers is looking for, I would love to be able to send them a quick IM from my desk, copy/paste the call number or authors last name into the chat, and then recieve a reply a few minutes later.
Or, as another example: I'm sitting at the check-out desk and a customer comes up who has too many items checked out on her card. Rather than walking to the back of the library and asking the person at check-in if everything has been checked in yet, I could quickly IM them with the same question. The check-in person could then IM me back, saying either "yep, everything's checked in", or "sorry, we're swamped back here" -- and I could then make a decision about whether to enter the override or to simply tell the customer they have too much checked out.
But about IM reference -- I'm one of the people who originally volunteered to be part of the pilot program. Unfortunately, because of my schedule, I have only been able to log in twice, and I did not get a single question either time. (This may mean that we need to do some more marketing??)
In the discussions I've been overhearing between co-workers this week, I've heard several comments about texting, and how perhaps we should be focusing on this instead of IM. And while I agree that text messaging is becoming much more prevalent, it is actually quite easy to forward instant messages to a cell phone through AIM (instructions here ) or Yahoo messenger (some instructions here, but they're a bit vague). I'm guessing that in the future -- as phones become more like, well, iphones, these two services will become more and more intertwined. And so, any progress we make in terms of Instant Messaging is still a step in the right direction.
And finally, on the subject of texting -- I found the following conversation that Wired magazine had with National Texting Champion, 13 year old Morgan Pozgar, and thought some of you might find it amusing.
Though now I just wonder if she was using complete sentences because she was texting an adult...
"Wired: When did u start txtin?
Pozgar: I just got txting at Christmas! Lol... I didn't get much practice.
W: What makes a bad txtr?
P: Bad spelling. It's a pet peeve. Lol. "