Comments around social media has been very interesting to follow – this topic has inspired debates! Initially I had thought there was no point to adding another instant messaging app to my phone but now that I see so many people jumping back on the wagon, could it really be worthwhile?
So here are my thoughts on the merits of BBM:
- The “D” and the “R” – Unlike any other instant messaging out there, BBM is able to let you when your message has been delivered (“D”) and read (“R”). Comparably, Whatsapp’s double checkmarks only indicate when the messages have been delivered, not necessary when they are read. You can do some guess work by checking when the person on the end end was “last seen” whether they’ve seen your message or not, but of course in the end, you just can’t be sure. I believe this is the major USP for BBM – because it enables conversations rather than just correspondence. Messaging the other person and knowing they are present and reading your message enables you to carry on a meaningful conversation. On the flip side, reading the message and not responding right away can also send a clear message at times. ;)
- Works on WiFi – this was one of my biggest annoyances while travelling. I did not purchase a roaming package for the 2 weeks I was away so everywhere I went, I looked for WiFi. But because I was only on WiFi, I could not use Skype for any voice/video calls. Service was not consistent with Whatsapp. Often I would get a message asking me to disable WiFi so that Whatsapp could work :S
- Independent Pin – while this seems to be an annoying feature to have, having a unique BBM pin number also means that when you change phones, you won’t have to build your BBM contact list again. With Whatsapp, your account is tied to your phone number and your contact list. If you upgrade your phone and you didn’t transfer your contact list – you’re starting from scratch.
- Privacy – another unique advantage of having a pin number is that you do not need to provide others with your phone number to add them to your list. Great for when you meet someone on a night out :D … or in a business setting!
BBM has already seen over 10 million downloads in just over 24 hours! (Of course, not all of those accounts have been activated). For now, only the core chat functionality and groups are available to non-Blackberry users with the expectation that video chat, voice calls and BBM Channels will launch some time in the future. But if they make all those features available to everyone, how will they convince users to switch back to a Blackberry device? If this is Blackberry’s first step in regaining some smartphone market share, I’m very interested in learning about their next steps!