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.