Texting is one of my favorite things. I got my first cell phone around the time that texting was taking off, and even though we were using the archaic T9 method it was still the bee’s knees. We could talk to people without anybody else knowing what we were talking about. It was convenient because if you or the other person was busy, they could just read and respond whenever they had the time. You could carry on multiple conversations at one time. Texting was – and is – great for a lot of reasons.
The way we message people with our phones has evolved immensely over the past decade. It’s not just something that happens through SMS anymore. There are so many options out there for messaging platforms it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of the alternatives. There’s texting, iMessage, BlackBerry Messenger, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Kik, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts, among countless others, available on different app stores. And while all of these options are great to have, I’ve come to feel that messaging people on my phone is not as simple as I wish it was. In fact, a lot of the time it feels more annoying than convenient.
I use three different applications for texting: Facebook Messenger, iMessage/SMS, and on the rare occasion, Hangouts. I seem to use Facebook Messenger and SMS/iMessage the most. I’m constantly switching back and forth between the two apps. I’ve been doing this for about two years now, and I’m surprised that the only company who seems to realize that making an app which supports multiple messaging applications into one consolidated, integrated application would be easier on people is Microsoft with Windows Phone.
So for as much drivel as Windows Phone will go down in history for having, rest assured that their messaging system was one that I wish every platform would learn a little bit from.
I will say I never had the best experience with their combined messaging/SMS app; it always seemed like my Facebook messages would duplicate, lag, or just not come through. I wasn’t all that impressed with the execution, I was just enamored with the idea. I loved the idea of not having to switch between multiple apps. And I am just floored that nobody else really considered it after that. The idea seems to have dropped off the map.
Perhaps that’s all coming off as me saying I want one “super messaging app” to rule them all, but that’s not really it. I think these different apps have their place and their purpose, but for the sake of simply communicating conveniently I would like to see an option where you can connect accounts and still receive those “texts” in one app.
It’s also incredibly annoying trying to find one messaging app that all of your friends agree on. For most people it’s impossible. One friend prefers Facebook, another prefers BlackBerry Messenger, a couple of them use Skype, several probably use iMessage but that’s useless when another friend doesn’t have an iPhone (and no, “Just go get an iPhone or something,” hardly ever works).
Of course if all else fails you can just fall back on good ol’ SMS most of the time, unless you’re stuck at your computer for one reason or another, or if you only have WiFi… which happens quite a lot, hence the need for people to use multiple third party messaging apps.
A true unified messaging platform may never happen, but I think if it ever did it would be a subtle killer feature. Having the option to connect different messaging accounts and streamline messages to one place would be an ideal feature that a lot of people could – and probably would – utilize.