After a recent return to running a channel on BBM, I offer my thoughts on some improvements for the medium.
BBM Channels has been buzzing along quietly for several years now. It has a loyal following among BlackBerry users, and has continued to grow even amid some setbacks, the most recent setback being the separation of Channels from BB10. However, channel managers and followers continue on: creating content, engaging with one another, and promoting the medium.
There are several great channels out there for all interests. If you’re looking for inspiring pic dumps, funny meme reposts, or original content, BBMC delivers. I’ve run many original channels since BBMC began, but stopped a few years back due to time and focus constraints. Recently, I’ve taken up the mantle once again and started a brand new, original content channel: Generica.
The channel is still in it’s infancy and slowly learning to walk among the other great channels on BBMC. I wanted to return back to where the true networking began on BBM. Old school groups and direct messages was great, but Channels really opened BBM up to people discovering more about other BBM users. It fostered creativity and facilitated collaboration. I returned to that.
After my hiatus, and now that I’m on BlackBerry Android, I’m able to look at Channels with a fresh perspective. I believe Channels is an untapped social media, and I hope it will come into it’s stride. There are a few improvements, not issues, that I would recommend to make it a bit more …intentional.
More Public Feed Integration
One of the things I’ve loved about recent BBM updates is the inclusion of the public Feeds. This gives more opportunity for people to network without ever leaving BBM. IT filters over to Channels through people’s profile picture when they leave comments. People can tap on the photo in a comment and be directed to their feed, to learn more if that feed is set to public. I’d like to see this added to the follower list for channel creators. Creators can manage their channels on their device and see who is following their channel. I’d love the option to tap on that same display pic from the follower list and see their public feed. Not every channel follower comments, so it’d be nice to try to engage the quieter ones, and may inspire more content.
Multiple Picture Upload
Right now, Channel posts are limited to one image. While this is a simplistic and streamlined format, there are occasions that call for a story of photos. For example, I recently shared the covers of several books that were meaningful to me. I didn’t provide a lot of information on the books, because the intent of the posts was to simply share covers. Being able to group those into one post that people could swipe through would allow a more dynamic and engaging experience for followers. It would be fantastic to see BBM include this function in channels.
More Mainstream Video Hosts
The ability to share videos integrated into BBMC is a newer feature, and right now it is limited to videos hosted on vidio.com. One of my former, and more popular channels, Musicality, primarily shared information on songs with links to their music videos. None of these were hosted on vidio.com. Being able to share videos hosted on more mainstream sites (e.g. YouTube) would give Channels the catalyst to truly evolve into feature-rich social media.
BBM Channels incorporates entertainment, networking, and social interaction with the privacy that we expect from anything carrying the BlackBerry moniker. Adding a few user-friendly features could encourage people to adopt the safety and privacy Channels affords. What features would you like to see?