First came texting.. or sms. Then came a slew of other chat platforms like BBM, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snap, and not to mention the messaging functions in other apps like Instagram. I thought it was downright ridiculous what Facebook paid for Whatsapp considering that they could’ve bought all of Blackberry, including Blackberry’s BBM platform and security IP for a fraction of the price. I could see a shift away from sms but considering that 99% of my texts were just brief text messages, all the added functionality on the newer platforms were lost on me.
The craze over Snapchat also seemed rather ridiculous. The novelty of sending nudes that would auto-delete wore off pretty quickly when people remembered you could still take a screen shot, but the platform persisted. I think I eventually figured out why Snapchat was so popular, and it’s rather interesting. When pictures auto-delete, they don’t take up space on your phone, meaning you can send them frivolously. A picture is worth a thousand words so a facial expression along with a text is a far richer message than just the text. It’s also a bit of a game with all the added functionality of filters that continue to push the boundaries of augmented reality. Effectively, it’s a superior mode of communication to classic texting and like with most things.. the kids are all over it while the old people are complaining about how they don’t understand kids these days.
So what’s the winning recipe? Especially when you have such well established heavy-weights dominating the industry? Simple solve the two most relevant problems. Give them a centralized messaging platform and take an opensource approach to the development of add-ons and other features.
A central messaging platform would allow you to receive messages from all the other messaging platforms, features in tact. The opensource approach to feature development and add-ons would effectively give the platform to the people, letting them continually develop what they wanted for it. Almost a democratic approach to its evolution.
Anyone already using more than one platform would likely to gravitate to a centralized messaging hub. Knowing that the hub maintains the features of all other major platforms, you wouldn’t even need to have the app on your phone after adding your account. Keeping the feature development in the hands of the users would also ensure that the platform would always remain current.
Texting is like a utility. Sending brief messages from person to person has become standard mode of communication and the technology is readily available. Make it secure, make it quick, and have a rich set of continually updated features. One and two are the responsibility of the business, number three are for the people. I see a few other businesses who have pulled this off, and many more who might benefit by taking a closer look.