The Balkanization of messaging apps

While I wish to see competition, I'm not so glad in regards to the perceived fragmentation of messaging. It wasn't that way back that email and SMS were the one options for most individuals. And one among the advantages of those two relatively old-fashioned methods is that they're not proprietary. Unlike many messaging apps, I don't have to know what app you're using to send me an email or an everyday SMS, nor do I care what sort of phone you employ or who your carrier is.

Most other messaging apps require the sender and receiver to make use of the identical app, and in some cases, like Apple's iMessage, they have to use the identical sort of phone. I can't inform you how persistently someone has told me they sent me an iMessage or asked for a Facetime call, just for me to inform them my Android phone isn't compatible with those apps.

This problem occurred the opposite day within the automobile when my wife Patti and I were driving to someone's house. She said the address was on her phone after which took several minutes to go looking through several apps until she finally found the one with the message with the address.

Prefer email

With few exceptions, I attempt to avoid proprietary messaging services. For my routine, non-urgent messages, I prefer email, especially if it comprises attachments or information I would need to search out later, comparable to an address, receipt, or photo. Email will not be only universal, but additionally archivable. My Gmail account is like an enormous filing cabinet. I often return and search for messages – sometimes years old – that contain information I want. Finding information in old text messages is nearly at all times difficult and sometimes unimaginable.

I attempt to limit texting to relatively urgent messages, like “I'm running late” or “Where are we meeting this afternoon?” And when a text is available in, my phone beeps or vibrates, indicating that I want to have a look at the message immediately. This annoys me if it's only a routine message that might have been sent via email, and sometimes makes me offended if it's a promotional message, spam, or some type of scam. Although you may configure an email app or service to notify you of incoming messages, many individuals don't do that as a result of the sheer volume of emails, most of which aren't that time-sensitive.

There are occasions when I take advantage of proprietary apps. If it's highly confidential, I would use an encrypted app like WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal. But most of my communications aren't that confidential, so SMS and email are enough. Sometimes I take advantage of Facebook Messenger if I do know tips on how to find the person on Facebook but don't have some other contact information, but I often ask them to answer via email because I often forget to ascertain for incoming Facebook messages. The same goes for direct messages on X. I take advantage of WhatsApp with a few of my friends and contacts abroad since it's convenient to have a single app I can use without cost calls, SMS, and video chats. And unlike Facetime, it doesn't matter what type of device they and I take advantage of.

Another problem I even have with text messages and messaging apps is that they’re mostly used on phones. While there are methods to access text messages and plenty of other varieties of messages from a pc, I often get them on my phone. That's effective for reading, and effective if I need to quickly write a brief reply, but I'm not that good at typing long messages on my phone. I learned to type on a keyboard as a child, and am excellent at it, so given the alternative, I prefer to answer from my PC if I even have so much to say. I've tried learning to type on my phone with each thumbs, and while I've gotten higher at it, I still find it a chore and I still make too many mistakes.

In some ways, today's messaging environment jogs my memory of the pre-Internet era, if you needed to be on the identical email system because the person you were messaging. Services like MCI Mail, AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy weren't connected to one another. Internet email modified all that, but now we're back to a group of disconnected messaging apps.

image credit :