Looking at my campus's ethics policy, I notice that instant messaging resides in a blind spot:
So, here at UIUC, we can't send email that is not work related, but we can IM all we want. TT recently reminded me of how lawsuits in departments often result in email being seized, but what about IM transcripts?
This gap (the focus on email communication while IM and Skypeing, for instance, remain in a blind spot) relates, I suppose, to the ways email approximates epistolary exchange, something quite old and familiar, while instant messaging is newer, different, and generally (I hear) "used by young people." But is that even right?