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Abstract

Media selection is a complex issue that may involve weighing factors such as media features (richness), user characteristics, and tasks. This study examines user perceptions about instant messengers (IM) compared to email (EM). It compares the relation of eight motivation variables with past experience (desktop and wireless) and future use intention (social interactions and work/coursework). Our results, based on a student survey, show that, for this population, frequency of use may predict the adoption of new technology, such as IM, but results in little or no effect on media that already enjoy widespread adoption. Years of media use did not affect IM or EM adoption. This study finds no evidence of a relationship between the availability of wireless access and user perceptions of IM and EM. IM adopters tend to use IM for both social reasons and work/coursework. These users expressed a strong intention for future use of IM. No significant difference was found in expected EM future use between the IM-adopters and non-adopters.

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