Ringing in the New Year with BBM

BBM came to the rescue.

Let’s face it, if 2018 has shown us anything, it’s that that Facebook and Twitter suck. BBM was lacking a critical feature which I felt we needed. As we roll into 2019, Facebook and Twitter suck even more, and BBM has added the feature which I’ve been wanting.

Facebook first hit a rough patch with the discovery of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a republican linked organization collected user information to better pinpoint users to target their campaigning with. While this was nearly identical to what Facebook allowed other advertisers and developers, and while Facebook itself publicized the help which the company itself gave to obtain similar information for the Obama campaign in 2012, this time, the world shuddered. This time, people took notice of the amount of information which Facebook collects, and how it can be used. This led to record stock losses for the company, and birthed a #deletefacebook campaign, and landed executives including Mark Zuckerberg in Congressional hearings. While Zuckerberg’s questioning led to a fun Bad Lip Reading video, it seems that the company didn’t take the hearings as important as they should, as with new evidence, it now seems that the company flat out lied to congress on several points.

Facebook didn’t surprise me at all. If you’ve been paying attention to tech in any way, shape, or form in the last decade, you already had a fairly good idea of what Facebook does. I had left Facebook some time ago, and have never missed it. This year though, Twitter managed to shock me.

Twitter has always been my favorite of the social media platforms. Short little messages, and easy to read feed, not too much clutter. It was perfect, until they screwed up the timeline. But even then, I still found it worlds better than Facebook. That is, until Twitter decided that what they wanted me to see was more important than what I wanted to see.

I used Twitter in two ways. One way is to follow news for this site. Tech news, entertainment, etc. I even interact a little bit on that profile. But I have another profile too. One which I really don’t do any interactions with, and one that doesn’t really follow any of the things which my main profile follows. Instead, that is (correction: was) my primary news feed. I follow several wide ranging news sources, several politicians, and several pundits. Twitter had always been good for getting the latest news, faster. But last year I started noticing something weird. Twitter was deciding what I was allowed to see.

As I said, I followed several wide ranging news sources. Among them is the hyper liberal CNN, and the hyper conservative Fox News. Why? To get both sides of course. But Twitter didn’t want me getting both sides. I was inundated with CNN posts. Posts from today, posts from hours ago, up to date posts. There was no chance I was going to miss an article from CNN, Twitter was ensuring it. On the other side of the coin, I though Fox News never updated their Twitter, because I would never see their posts in my timeline. Well, Fox was updating, but the only way I was allowed to see those posts was if I went directly to their page. Only once I visited them directly, would their posts show up in my timeline.

Soon, the stories of Twitter shadow banning came to light. Twitter of course said they weren’t doing that. And most news sources reported that they were not. But then, the truth came out. They weren’t shadow banning based on the original definition of “shadow ban”. Shadow banning originally had to do with forums, in which a user would be banned, but wouldn’t know it. As far as the user knew, they were still posting and interacting, but no one else could see them. Twitter did end up admitting that they would hide “low quality” tweeters from timelines, so that users would have to search for those users. Just as I had to do to find Fox. It seemed Twitter only wanted one side of news to be reported. But it didn’t end there.

Twitter has since gone on attack against users. Many conservative users have found themselves removed from the platform. And while some of these users are quite nutty, of the Alex Jones variety, there are others that are just as relevant as those users on the other side of the aisle. Twitter claimed to be a platform instead of a publisher so that they wouldn’t be held liable for what was posted there, however, now they are practicing some heavy handed editorial control. With far left progressivism being the only truly free voice on their platform. Being an American, free speech is very important to me. Even speech I don’t like. Even that of those aforementioned nutty types. But I couldn’t bring myself to leave Twitter just yet. Because my other favorite platform just wasn’t ready yet. That platform is of course BBM.

BBM has long been a mainstay on my devices. It’s my most important and most used app. It is how the vast majority of my communications take place now, as I have herded all my family and friends on to the app. It has always been a great messenger, in my opinion, the best messenger, but it has been growing being just a messenger.

BBM first took on the appearance of a social network with the addition of BBM Channels. Later, a big step was taken with BBM Feeds, in which people’s status updates, and BBM Channel posts looked nearly identical. But there was a very frustrating problem. You could easily comment on Channel posts, just as you would expect with a social media. But to comment on a status update, you had to start a chat, which seemed quite intrusive, and didn’t allow for multiple commenters. Just this last month that was changed. You can now comment on other user’s status updates, much like you do on a Channel post. You can leave a comment or a like without starting a chat, and there can be several comments from multiple people. It has been an absolute game changer for BBM Feeds.

Now, I’ll admit, I haven’t left Twitter yet. But for 2019? I’m planning on that changing. I have already made it to the point where I am crawling BBM Feeds first, but I’m still checking Twitter a couple of times a day. Unfortunately, not many of my contacts are fully using feeds, and the major brands and news sources aren’t there. However, for the reasons I mentioned above, Twitter is breaking me from using it as a news feed by it’s own actions. I’m currently curating a news feed for myself using an RSS app. At least then, I will see what I want to see.

I also plan on being a BBM Feeds power user. I plan on posting more. A lot more. And BBM allows me a better sharing experience. You see, I have some varied interests, and most of my friends don’t care about all those things which I care about. Posting all of that to my feeds, will go to my contacts only, and to all of my contacts. BBM Channels allows us freedom which Twitter does not. I can use my status updates for my typical daily thoughts. And I can create a channel for another interest. Do I have political things to share? I sure do. And I also have friends which would never hear any political talk from me. So I can open a channel and invite my friends that I do discuss politics with. Movies? Trust me, most of my friends have a very different taste in movies than I do, and don’t want to hear about the badly made zombie movie I found on Netflix last night. But some of my friends just might. Imagine, sharing your status updates only to those friends that may actually care about them? That is possible with BBM Channels. And now, they show up directly in your friend’s feeds, in one uniform format.

In 2018, Facebook lied. Twitter disappointed. And BBM stepped up to the plate. If you’re looking for me in 2019, you’d best look first at BBM.


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