BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was indeed the first amongst the social networks way before we had a sorry upstart like whatsapp messenger. Mated to BlackBerry and BIS, BBM drove the users to exchange PINs and connect with people across geographies in real time. As smartphones proliferated, whatsapp came into prominence due to its reliance on phone numbers as the identity verification.
Phone numbers are indeed easier to manage including the reliance on it for identification since it tends to eliminate the need for exchanging PIN’s. However, this has brought about issues never imagined before. As application usage (whatsapp) has proliferated, it has brought its ugly face to the fore. Privacy has been held hostage to application (whatsapp) usage which is barely an SMS replacement.
BBM relies on PIN sharing; two parties must agree to interact with each other. The PIN sharing can be done easily by email, text and by scanning the QR code. This sends the notification to your device and you can then accept the user in the categories listed. The messages delivered have a blue “D” while those that are read have a green “R” suffix in front of them. This ensures that the messages have been seen by both the parties.
If you wish to make groups, you must send the request permission to the user. This ensures that you are aware of the actions thereof. There are have been horror stories of people being put in groups without their permission on whatsapp. This leaves them open to abuses because their phone numbers are tied to the usage. Your phone number, once out in the open to unknown groups would make the stalkers and lurkers monitor your whatsapp profiles just by adding your number. BBM, operates on total trust model. It makes, you the user, in total control of whom you wish to interact.
BBM Channels is indeed the icing on the cake. While there are minor niggling issues related to comments on the thread (they are not nested), the channel owner has complete freedom to restrict users from geographies to see your content and/or subscribe. You can pre-approve comments, if you need or remove that option completely. There are multiple administrators to eliminate the hassle of time zones, as we do for our UTB channel. There are millions of channels to suit your interests and it has indeed set up a thriving ecosystem. You can have completely private channels that cannot be indexed by search or by strict invite only.
In addition, your contact activity can be easily seen through feeds.
I have subscribed to the option of having a personal PIN and privacy/control that gives me the ability to retract/ edit or open up personal private chats that leaves absolutely no trace of activity (by being backed up). This indeed is the coolest feature of BBM and needs to be highlighted. For a small subscription fee, it’s totally worth it; cheaper than your coffee fix.
There are numerous instances wherein BBM Channels are being used for commerce; highlighting the products with a link to the main website, getting a targeted metadata about your users and subscribers and having an idea on what clicks with your target audiences.
BBM is cross platform, available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and a host of mushrooming social networking sites, BBM is dependable, safe, secure and private social network. Indeed, its the king out there!