A reader makes a significant point:

First off, most young people today use an IM program called Trillian. The program allows you to use a single interface for all your IM contacts even though your IM friends may all use different IM programs (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, etc.).

As a by-product of using Trillian (and most other IM programs), all conversations are stored as a log file in the Trillian history folder. I've gone in and double checked and all of my IM conversations, going back years, are saved as long log files, one for each contact in my contact list. I believe that all of the main IM programs do the same thing.

So, no, people don't actively or purposely 'save' IMs.  Most tech-savvy people know that IMs are automatically saved as a by-product of using an IM program.  So if anyone, at any time, has any reason to go back and track down a previous IM exchange, it's relatively easy to do.

It's scary to think, but unbeknownst to him, I'd assume that all of Mr. Foley's old IM’s are probably stored on his PC, assuming a staffer did not go in and delete them once the story broke.

So this further undermines the notion that there was some nefarious plot at work here. The pages could have saved their IMs; or had their computers save them automatically.