[bbc] OMG. Instant messaging (IM), once the mainstay of teenage gossips, techie know-it-alls and office time-wasters everywhere, looks as though it is in trouble.
Just a few years ago, it was meant to be the future.
More immediate than e-mail, less fiddly than texting, sending an IM was widely expected by many technology pundits to become our preferred mode of online communication, whether socially or in the office - or socially in the office, for that matter.
But how times change.
In 2007, 14% of Britons' online time was spent on IM, according to the UK Online Measurement company - but that has fallen to just 5%, the firm says, basing its findings on the habits of a panel of 40,000 computer users.
The study was released shortly after AOL sold its ICQ instant messaging service $187.5m (£124m) - less than half what the company paid for it in 1998.
And in September 2009, a survey of internet use by the New York-based Online Publishers Association found that the amount of time spent by surfers on traditional communications tools, including IM and e-mail, had declined by 8% since 2003.
It is a far cry from the early days of the decade when this very website anticipated that IM would overtake e-mail by 2004 [see internet links].
Instant messaging: This conversation is terminated