As the quintessential early adopter and a propoent of creative disruption, I never thought I’d find myself saying this: when it comes to messaging, I’m old school.
Sure, email has it’s problems, but it works. The same goes for SMS. Both are ubiquitous - it doesn’t matter what mail client you have or what phone you use, it just works. For everyone.
Making email better has largely been a product of the email client. (In this case, Gmail has been great.) But regardless of the mail client, people will still act inappropriately when using email, using it as a project management tool or simply not being able to write well.
Apple has (mostly) been successful in solving SMS challenges by integrating iMessage with standard SMS capabilites, allowing us to send longer messages while stopping the outright robbery by the wireless carriers for sending and receiving text messages.
With both of those things in mind, I have 1) a tool for what is typically asynchronous communication (email) and; 2) another for more urgent communication (SMS/iMessage).
I’m done. I don’t really need anything else.
But alas, the world thinks otherwise.
Case in point: I recently attended a conference where I delivered a couple of workshops and recorded a number of podcast interviews.
The organizer of my track wanted to know how she could contact me: “I’ll just ping you on WhatsApp. Or do you prefer Facebook Messenger?”
Me: “How about neither? Here’s my mobile number, and you already have my email address.”
Why must we adopt every messaging app under the sun, just because one or two people in our social or business networks decide they like it?
There are only so many inboxes that a person should have to manage.
Sure, WhatsApp has changed communication for many people around the world, especially those communicating across borders.
But my cross border communications are typically either email or scheduled conversations that use VOIP or IP-based videoconferencing - I don’t need to ring someone internationally at a moments notice.
Should that change, I have a tool for that, too: Skype, which already has a huge user base.
Of course, some of this is a bit selfish on my part. I’m simply tired of checking multiple inboxes for messages.
More importantly, if someone sends me an important message in an app that I rarely use, any follow-up actions to that message may be lost - there are only someone points of communication that a person can manage.
Just to be clear: there is always room for innovation and we should always look for new and better ways to accomplish certain tasks, but all of these messaging apps are pretty much the same.
Unless you have an idea that will completely change the way we communicate, keep your messaging app to yourself.
We don’t need yet-another-WhatsApp.