In Hollywood, where everyone's a freelancer and career networking veers between art and warfare, a new weapon is emerging as champion: instant messaging.
Movie producers, directors, actors and crew workers bouncing from one job to the next have traditionally relied on agents and Rolodexes for finding their next gigs. But these days, many are discovering it's easier to post their job availability on IM.
Instead of displaying simple "away from my computer" messages, Hollywood buddy lists now overflow with come-ons, from "need work" to "wrapping up shoot." Producers hiring for a new production can tell at a glance who's available now, who's not and who might be free in the near future.
This seems like a really effective use of instant messaging - I mean, heck... I've been using it in much the same way ever since I first started using IM back in high school (oh-so-scarily long ago). It's almost like a personal classified ads board.
However, I'm forced to wonder if this job-posting use might entice the messaging service providers to try to charge for the service. I don't think pay-to-chat would work in the long run, though, because they'd lose many of their casual customers - either the users would stop messaging, or they'd go to a different, free application. I suppose they could encrypt the communications between the client and the server to prevent third-party tap-ins, but... I'm pretty sure it'd outright kill the medium for a lot of folks.