And it truly hurts me to say it.
Back in April, I had to write about something that I really didn’t want to write about. BBM was coming to an end, and I was devastated. BBM had become such an important part of my life. I had been on the chat application for over a decade. While other users would complain they couldn’t get people on the service, I had managed to get all of my friends and family on BBM. It wasn’t always easy, but I never gave up, and I did it. This very website was born out of BBM, and because of this website, and therefore BBM, I had become friendly with people within BlackBerry and BBM, that I was able to speak to regularly, through BBM. From communication with friends and family, to this website, to numerous people that I met only through BBM, the mobile messenger was central to all of it. And it was coming to an end.
Like most other users, I scrambled to find a new chat app, something that would replace my beloved BBM. And it was surely not going to be easy for me. After all, I was known for bashing all other chat apps. As a fan of BBM that wanted to see it grow, I was first to point fingers at other messenger applications failings. And it was not hard. While BBM never regained it’s original popularity, and died because of that, it was a wonderful mix of features, security, and reliability that was just not available anywhere else.
I ended up settling myself into BBMe and Telegram. BlackBerry had thankfully opened up BBM Enterprise for all messengers, and I assumed that it would be my new home. Many of my BBM contacts were already on Telegram, and even though I had incessantly trashed the app to them because of its unreliability, I loaded it up in order to not lose contacts.
Now, months later, I have settled into my new home. And it’s not what I thought it would be. While I am extremely grateful to BlackBerry for opening up BBMe to the public, I have found it to be painful to use. It is like stepping back in time, and not in a good way. Using BBMe reminds me of using BBM back in my early BB10 days. It was a wonderful time to be on BBM. However, BBM had grown by leaps and bounds since then, and using BBMe does nothing but remind me of what I have lost.
I keep finding myself using a car analogy. Because everything always comes back to a car analogy. Using BBM felt like driving a car which had all the options included, all the bells and whistles. Air conditioning, heated seats, sunroof, you name it, we had it. Moving to BBMe felt as though the car manufacturer had a recall, took your car, and returned it to you with all of those options removed. Leaving us with a car that would get us where we needed to go, but it wasn’t going to be comfortable or fun.
Telegram on the other hand, felt like BBM. It had many of the same features of BBM. Some better, some worse. It has channels. And most important of all, it gets updates. Updates with new features. Features which were planned on and hoped for with BBM.
In addition, Telegram has something which BBM lost and never regained. Popularity. Telegram already had a large usage base, especially compared to BBM, but thanks to the hijinks of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, Telegram is growing even bigger. The social media giants have placed politics before users, and have banned a number of influencers. Even though many other social media services have popped up trying to fill the holes which these companies have created, nearly all of those influencers which have been banned from those platforms, and even many who have not, have worked their ways onto Telegrams. If you followed someone on Twitter or Facebook, and found them banned, odds are you will be able to find them on Telegram Channels.
Telegram has filled the hole left for me by BBM, and I only just realized it. As I have said numerous times, BBM was the first thing I’d check in the morning, and the last thing I would check at night. I was always connected to BBM. Now, I have found that I am doing the same thing with Telegram, even if it is for slightly different reasons. With BBM I tended to be on it first and last thing, because of very active BBM Groups I was in. I have yet to see a Telegram group chat get as active as most of the BBM Groups I was a member of, however Telegram Channels have pulled me in. Anymore, if I find myself on Twitter, it’s because a link from Telegram took me there.
I still find myself hoping for some BBM miracle. I’d love to see BlackBerry bring new consumer features to BBMe. I’d even love if BlackBerry could just grab the code and bring back the BBM which Emtek walked away from, but sadly, I don’t see that happening. And after being evicted from my communications home, I’ve found myself a new set of digs, and that is Telegram.