Are we getting the message? Today, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) America Online unit released survey data pertaining to instant messaging (IM) communications media, such as its AIM product. According to that survey (and this is certainly not rocket science), instant messaging is gaining prevalence in the workplace as it loses the stigma that it's a toy or a time suck. Meanwhile, use of IM on the go is increasing, too.

Corporate IM use has been an important subject as the medium has continued to grow in popularity. We recently discussed how the heavyweights might be relaxing, seeing how Microsoft announced it would provide some degree of openness in corporate IM while AOL took aim at business.

The data is from the Second Annual Instant Messaging Trends survey, which was funded by AOL (although the data was not limited to AIM users). Among the findings was that 59% of Internet users use IM. Meanwhile, 27% of the IM users surveyed use the application at work, an impressive 71% increase over this time last year.

Trying to track down AOL's press release text was like pulling teeth; I couldn't locate it through newswire feeds or on AIM's website. (However, I did run across this awfully handy acronym dictionary, in case you ever wondered what a fellow IM chatter was trying to convey when he or she typed "FWIW" or some such code). However, I finally tracked it down on the corporate America Online page.

Other interesting tidbits include the finding that 43% of employed IM users use the application for swift communication at work. Meanwhile, as for messaging on the move, 19% of the users send messages via PDAs and cell phones.

Regardless of the fact that AOL's funding a survey that rallies behind one of its most successful products, it's not hard for me to buy that IM is gaining ground as a quick and easy way to communicate in the workplace.

Meanwhile, the heavy teen influence on IM continues. (Indeed, 90% of the young adults surveyed use IM.) Although that figure (and the presence of cartoon icons and emoticons) may contradict IM's usefulness, those teens will, someday soon, enter the workforce.

So, it's no surprise it's on the rise, and perhaps many corporations had better think about their IM policies. Soon, younger workers may prefer to let their fingers to do the talking as the medium becomes as comfortable as the telephone was when their own parents entered the workplace. How corporations will capitalize off of the trend remains to be seen.

Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock. Find out other stocks marked for greatness by subscribing risk-free for six months. Or, pick your IM provider of choice and talk it out; we've got the Time Warner , Yahoo! , and Microsoft discussion boards for those who want to discuss the services.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. Her favorite AIM emoticon is the "angry face" -- she finds it entertaining, FWIW.