The digital era is evolving too fast; there’s no doubt with that. And part of this rapid evolution is the transition from the traditional way of communication to a techier digital instant messaging. When the old-school telegram and telephone system have evolved to the wireless mobile phones, many may have thought that it’s already the breakthrough milestone of the technological era. But when the mobile industry has continued to grow, more and more changes have transpired.
The classic way of texting and calling has been replaced by online messaging and video calling (although, there are some who are still doing the old school way of communication). If you will come to think of it, online messaging apps and video calling emerged from a mix concept of electronic mail and traditional texting. Since people have become obsessed with whatever is instant and fast, tech companies use that opportunity to develop something that will help people communicate faster and better. But, isn’t it becoming too much?
Well, let’s take a look at some of these popular messaging applications that many active online users preferred to use. Let’s see how they differ from each other and how users can (really) benefit from them.
This app is available for both Android and iOS for free. It’s an easy set up app where you just need to register your phone number and it syncs your contacts. With WhatsApp, you can send a text message, voice message, photos, short videos, and emoji. It also offers a group chatting feature where you can add specific contacts to group so you can communicate with all of them at the same time. Oh, and it’s ad-free – something that many online users are always looking for.
Well, it’s one of the pioneers in online messaging – in line with Yahoo! Messenger – but the new Skype transformed into a more convenient instant messaging system. It’s also a free app for Android, iOS, and Windows. Just like the other apps, you can also send text messaging, photos, videos, and emoji. But one the unique selling point of Skype is its capability to make calls to mobile phones and landlines (with credits) plus its cross-platform functionality, which makes it an effective communication choice for businesses. You can access Skype using a mobile device, a computer via the app, and a computer via the web.
It’s also an easy setup app where you just need a phone number to create the account, and it will sync your phone contacts. Same goes with the function of text messaging, emojis, photos and videos sending to other Viber users. You can also make calls to non-Viber numbers worldwide, with a fee. Oh, and most importantly, they adapted the cross-device function too, which means that you can install a Viber app on your computer and you can also log in via the web app. But the most exciting of all is that you can follow public group chats of celebrities (or groups) and get updated with their conversations and beats.
Of course, who will forget the dedicated messaging app of Facebook? This started as a feature of the number one social media platform which later transformed as a standalone app. With Messenger, you have to sign in using your Facebook account to chat with your Friends. You can utilise text and voice messaging, photo and video sharing plus GIFs, and the most recent addition to the features, location sharing.
It’s a well-known Chinese dominating app. Compatible for both Android and iOS for free, WeChat also offers free text messaging, voice calling, multimedia sharing, and group chatting. What’s more interesting is that WeChat has a quirky feature which makes it easier to reach your nearby community; it’s called Friend Radar, People Nearby, and Shake. You can use these functions to chat with other WeChat users nearby and find new “friends”.
Line is another powerful messaging app from Asia. This instant messaging app was made by Japanese developers for more than 600 million users worldwide. Aside from the usual messaging app feature of sending multimedia messages, Line has a social network capability because of the “Timeline”. You can create a profile, post on your wall, and reach out to all Line users – with an option to make paid international calls to mobile and landline phones. Same as in Viber, you can also follow celebrities and popular channels to get the latest updates.
It’s a team-oriented messaging app, basically. Many companies and groups are utilizing Slack because it’s a mix of messaging, scheduling, and management tools that will be beneficial in monitoring the progress of your team or employees; while at the same time covering the basic of instant messaging apps and syncing it across different various devices including the web. One of the best features of Slack is that you can integrate your shared storage on a cloud, making it easier to search for sent and received files through the messaging platform. It’s quite ideal for businesses and companies.
But wait! There’s more…
These 7 major apps are just the tips of the iceberg. There is still a smorgasbord of instant messaging apps available in the market, not to mention those that are developed by independent and emerging developers.
More than the changing needs in the communication alley, the primary triggering factors that made this online chat platforms a success is the rapid evolution and spread of smartphones and the Internet.
To maximise the functions of any instant messaging app, all you need to have is a smartphone. There are already a lot of affordable smartphones available in the market, making it possible for almost anyone to have their own.
The sensationalism of the Internet, on the other hand, became a factor when many mobile networks started to become more generous when it comes to their internet availability and capability. They have also developed better ways to connect wirelessly via the mobile device – a trend that is not just happening in Singapore but also around the world. Many establishments, offices, and even government properties have made WiFi connection available for everyone.
Thus, with the availability of these two essential requirements, people are starting to turn their backs to the traditional phone calls and start signing up for instant messaging accounts.
But what we can see as one of the most influential aspect in the growth of these online messaging media is the fascination of the modern audience with social media. People nowadays are extremely passionate on communicating and connecting with anyone and anybody. People have become interested talking more to a lot of people, especially those that they haven’t contacted for a long time – and even to strangers. Suddenly, everyone wants to be in touched with everybody… or at least they want to have the option to do so. And because of that, app developers have seen this need as a business opportunity which led them to create various types of chat applications.
When we first thought of this list, we have (already) concluded that all chat and messaging applications are basically the same – the purpose, the function and the features. But when you incorporate user behavior and their preference, you’ll realize that every messaging app has its unique capabilities and… well, benefits.
So, is it really something that you need? Well, it’s an obvious yes… but not all of them. Always examine the reasons of why you need it and look for the app that caters the needs of those reasons; also consider the security of using an online platform in transmitting personal and business communications (but this is a different story to tackle.). Don’t just ride with the trend and hearsays.
The most important thing, though, is that you can deliver your message across, in the most convenient and effective way – be it in the traditional or modern medium.