Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Great Instant Messaging Disconnect of 2015

“Hey!”, came the shout from Tom, across the office, “Are you coming along to my river bash at the weekend?”

“First I’ve heard of it”, I shouted back. “I sent you an invite on Facebook Messenger!”, he said, coming over to chat in a more civilised fashion. “Did you not get it?”

“Nah, I uninstalled that a while back”, I replied. “I use GroupMe now.”

“GroupWhat?” Tom came back at me. “Never heard of it!” “It’s really powerful, look what it can do…”

“I’ve never heard of it either”, chipped in Diane from the neighbouring desk. “What do you use to keep in touch with everyone, then?” I asked, somewhat resignedly.

“WhatsApp, of course, silly”, she said. “Though it doesn’t do any good with my teenagers, they only use Snapchat these days. And neither help me with Ian (her husband and better half), he’s dotty on BBM, which I can’t stand…”

“So Tom, who else did you invite?” I said, inviting more trouble. “Well, I was going to invite Daniel, but I know he’s a bit of a geek only uses Google Hangouts. Even if I could get a message to him, he’d only spend the party trying to convert me to Google everything….”

“What about Angela?” I said brightly. Pretty, charming, life and soul of every party, or so I’m told. “Great idea”, said Tom. “Hey Angela!” She looked round. “Want to come to my bash at the weekend? I’ll send you the details via Facebook?”

Angela looked keen on the party idea but not on having to go back to Facebook, it seems. Seems she deleted her account after getting fed up with all the rubbish on it. “Couldn’t you send me the stuff via iMessage so I’ve got it all on my iPhone?”

“Sorry”, said Tom, “Never used iMessage in my life. What about “Viber?” A shake of the head. “Line?” Nope. “Telegram Messenger?”. Oblivion.

“Oh, this is ridiculous”, I said. Just print out the map and details and stick it on our desks! Then send everyone a SMS to remind us on the day?

The sheer number of instant messaging and sharing systems that exist today, all proclaiming to be “popular” is nothing short of crazy. Almost every week, some new company comes up with a new entry in the messaging market, looking to make its fortune, and then withers for the next three years before going bankrupt or being bought and then sold for scrap parts….

And you'll notice that all of the above is before I'd even got as far as Twitter DMs, Skype IM, and others...

Back in the day we had Jabber, an initiative to integrate many of the instant messaging systems of the time - surely we now need something along the same lines?

When a new service used to crop up, I'd grab my own 'name' on it as a precaution - I don't even bother now, there are simply far too many messaging and social sharing sites. Life's too short.

Each service and client promotes itself with thumbnails of happy (usually) young Americans all on the same service and conducting normal social interactions. "Looking forward to the beach trip?", one will say, and two others will chime in immediately (on this obscure service) and positively.

Not once you do see the original poster scratching their head because the people he wanted to chat to are each on completely separate chat networks/apps.....

Is it just me? At least there's email, around since the 1980s and still working well. At least there's SMS, around since the 1990s and still working well. And as a last resort, there's always the phone call itself, around for over 100 years and more mobile than ever, or so I'm led to believe....(!)

3 comments:

Matt Leech said...

Fortunately for our human friends and family there are people like us who pipe and glue together all the social interactions by using every single damn IM service.


$ write chale pts/3
What time are you coming over later?
^C
$ Message from chale@theserver.net on pts/3 at 15:16 ...
i'll dm u on instagram
EOF

Gary Gotham said...

Not sure whether to +1 this or share it on Facebook. Sigh. :-)

hotzigetty said...

It's weird to me that people still use sms (especially here in France, it's just sms) and don't understand why people wouldn't use it. I'm sure its okay when you're only messaging (and calling, as an extension of that) people in the same country, covered by an all include plan and whatnot, none of that is useful (in fact, I'd say it's absurd and stupid) when you have friends,family and acquaintances spread out across the world.

Yeah sure, email works (except if you have a dumb phone and then it's just pointless) and skype, hangouts, yada-yada-yada. Horses for courses.... :)

Just my two cents...