BBM Takes a Step Towards Social Media Platform

BBM’s latest update adds something that might just be a clue of things to come.

If you’re in the BBM Beta program, you might have noticed a new addition. This new addition may just be very telling of what the future may bring to BBM. That new addition is the Public Profile.

Located inside your account settings under the “Me” tab you’ll find a new checkbox to “Set Profile as Public” with a descriptor of “When turned on, everyone can see your profile”. This option defaults to off, and users need to check the box to turn this on. This sounds rather daunting doesn’t it? If I know my fellow BlackBerry users, I’m fairly certain most aren’t willing to check that box. But what does it actually do?

At this point, it doesn’t do much, but I think it is very telling of things to come. And I think that it is something that most BlackBerry users will be very happy about. What it does, is bring BBM one step closer to a full social media experience. What it doesn’t do, is invade your privacy.

A public profile makes your feed public. It doesn’t expose your chats, it doesn’t expose your PIN, it won’t tell people what groups your in, or what channels you subscribe to. Your real name, email address, phone number, none of that is exposed. So what is public? Only those items that you add to your feed. The feed has always included your name changes and status updates. In an update not too long ago, BBM also made it possible to add photos to your feed. This is all that is made public.

So how do you see someone else’s public profile? As of now, there is only one way that I can find, and that is through BBM channels. More specifically, on someone that has commented on BBM channels. Go to a BBM channel which you follow, and find a post which has a comment on it. On that comment now, click on that person’s name, and you will be brought to their profile. Odds are, at this point, you won’t see anything because people haven’t made their feed public. If you do stumble across someone that has turned it on, you would see what they have posted to their feed. And that’s it.

Now you may be asking yourself why? Well, I liken this part to Twitter. Say you see a comment on Twitter, and you either like it, or hate it, or just want to know more about the person that made it. What do you do? Well, you go to their Twitter page, and look at their tweets. This is the equivalent of this. It is adding more social media functionality to BBM, and I for one am excited about it. I’m also excited about what this potentially leads to.

We saw a huge leap from a messaging app to a social media platform when BBM Channels were introduced. Unfortunately, I don’t think BBMC took off as many were hoping, and development seemed to stall. This appears to be heading in a new direction, which also seems to be affecting BBMC, and that’s a very good thing.

There are a few things I’m hoping to see soon in BBM, in order to turn my favorite messaging platform into my favorite social media platform. I want to see a way to follow other user like in Twitter and Instagram. I want a way to tag other users and topics. And I want to see what we love about BBM, our own control over our privacy, to stay as is. By being able to choose what is shared, and be able to block those that we don’t want to see it. I want to see BBM users dive into these new features, and grow BBM into the platform it deserves to be.

I have made my profile public, and have started using my feeds more. Don’t be scared. Come give it a try.

What you see on a private profile.


BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • Alan

    I’m still primarily on BB10 so these changes are not affecting me, but I to welcome all these changes to BBM in the other operating systems. Whatever works to help BBM become more popular, more accepted, and perhaps more dynamic is cool. Go BBM (EMTEK) make it so. I will be able to take advantage of all this new stuff on my Priv and on my BBM in future BlackBerry Mobile phones. In this case change is good. Flexibility is good. Choices are good.

  • MePiikan LzBolaz

    When we first heard about this I didn’t pay it much attention. I figured, its just another social media app, but if it works like they are expecting it will be good for BBM.

    • NoSpamMcGee

      How so? How does this bring anyone INTO the platform? All they’re doing with this is catering to the already existing base not really expanding it. Now you’ll be able to view the profiles of all the spammers? Yay!

      • It’s simply a first step. More to come.

  • ENG342

    How long will this be in beta? No update for non beta since early December. I welcome the new features etc but as far as BBMC is concerned, BlackBerry need to press the reset button, delete channels that have been inactive for more than a year. The major brands that were on BBMC have long since left the building and there are literally thousands of abandoned channels, most of them complete garbage and of no interest. Any channel that is a success is inundated with Indonesians posting pins etc etc and spammers, UTB being a prime example prior to turning off comments. I see the same happening to any social media platform that is launched on BBM. I will try it but remain sceptical. I am no fan of social media apps but welcome and support anything BlackBerry do, most of the time. One feature I would like is the ability to make voice calls from BBM to land lines. A subscription service which BBM would profit from, similar to Skype before Microsoft destroyed it with the horrible new design. Anyway happy weekend folks. Hope to see the latest BBM on general release asap.

    • Great points. We just received a new beta that is much more stable, so I assume a full release shortly.

      And yes, there is much that could be done with Channels. I’m not sure channels are any sort of priority compared to new functionality, but I’m glad to see new functionality affecting channels.