Why We Message: 4 Not-so-obvious Reasons
We type out messages and hit ‘send’ almost as naturally as we breathe. Scientists have performed totally legitimate studies that suggest our thumbs are evolving to help us message better! True story.
Messaging has become second nature and everyone loves it. But what made it so popular? Generic responses range from “we are social animals,” to “it’s speedy and mobile.” But both those arguments apply just as well to phone calls and emails. What actually sets messaging apart are the things we don’t consciously think of:
1. A meme is worth a thousand words
“Words can’t convey how I feel right now! So here’s a GIF instead.” Multimedia is the unsung hero in modern communication, and it’s been significant in getting us hooked to chat apps. Yes, of course you could share these files even on AOL way back in ’98, but this isn’t about the ability to share — it’s about how all messaging apps today treat pictures as a part of the conversation, and not just ‘attachments.’
Take WhatsApp: images show up prominently, just like a chat bubble that’s saying something. Stickers are another variation of this paradigm — visuals designed specifically to convey an emotion; to say something. But the most obvious evolution of multimedia as a means of communication lies in Apple’s Animoji.
In fact, this significance of images & GIFs is why we provide developers the tooling to enable multimedia usage at various levels — like for when your app’s users want Animoji or GIFs as profile images.
2. It’s a zero learning curve
As much as we like complaining about how “old people don’t get technology,” we’re really no better. Show us a remotely complex piece of tech and we invoke the “simplicity” clause, followed by a rant on how “good products are intuitive products.” And that’s true, because simplicity is the fuel that helped spread the messaging wildfire.
There are few things in technology as intuitive as messaging. It’s the obviousness of how it all functions, and the interface itself, that has made it second nature. Everything is either at the tip of your finger or just a scroll away. And all messages appear in a perfectly logical manner that anyone from a 5 to a 75-year-old can easily make sense of.
This overall simplicity also means that the tooling to build messaging can be simple. But this simplicity cannot come at the cost of extensibility. That’s why Mitter.io allows developers to build all sorts of customizations at different levels — from app features to individual messages, while also providing simple defaults to build chat apps easily.
3. It’s the right kind of personal
| Hi Dave! We hear you like pineapple on your pizza! No, we literally HEAR it. 😉
People love the personalization that messaging offers — because it’s the kind that’s under their control. With direct messages, personal groups, global chat rooms or business chat (more on this in a minute), we can choose the perfect level of personalization that works for us. Add to that E2E encryption, and most people feel safe with messaging. The same can’t be said about either calls or emails. Ask Mr. Nixon and Mrs. Clinton!
Moreover, messages just feel like more personal interactions (almost akin to talking in the physical world). If you think about it, being dead-centre in a crowded shopping mall and still having a completely privy conversation with friends or family is pretty damn awesome.
And imagine if this level of personalization could go even deeper, working right at the application-level. Like enabling private replies right within group channels or easily setting policies and configurations around how users interact within the channel!
4. It’s always connected and disconnected
The trade-off with real-time communication is ‘how long you can hold a conversation’ v/s ‘how much you can say in a conversation.’ Plotted as a graph, it’s obvious why most of us today don’t (or haven’t ever) fare too well over a call — there’s just too much pressure to respond and not enough time to think when the person at the other end is waiting on you.
Messaging solves this by allowing for real-time communication without tethering us to our devices. It allows us the space and time to analyse what the other person is saying and perfect our response accordingly. Three minutes between responses seems normal on chat; but on a call, you’d hear “Hello?! Are you there?” about a hundred times.
Bonus: Why All Of This Matters To Businesses
5. Speaking of “Hello?! Are you there???”
Messaging has outgrown its status as a ‘social tool’ and is now primed and ready for the commercial world. It is a known (and studied) fact that people love chat everywhere — even when they want help with a product they just bought or are looking to buy.
In fact, businesses are fast moving to messaging as the channel to connect with customers not only because of all the cost and efficiency benefits, but more importantly, because customers expect it. You and I would love to be able to talk to a business just the way we talk to each other. Why? Because email eventually drowns under a sea of red tape, and voice calling makes us want to throw things against walls. But messaging? Now, that we get.
6. Leaving the ‘Terms & Conditions’ box unticked
Adweek points out another important reason why brands and their customers are turning to messaging as their preferred channel of communication: it’s because we’re all tired of dealing with the cesspool of spam that our email and SMS inboxes are destined to turn into.
Messaging is a channel that puts customers in control and brands ahead on the ‘likeability scale.’ On messaging apps, customers get to choose whether or not they want to open a line of communication with someone, without having to check a box that says “You are OK with receiving product promotions disguised as unsolicited advice every other day.”
Today, brands can deliver all sorts of delightful experiences to their customers through messaging. Business chat can now handle so much more than just support functions; because not only is messaging the ideal replacement for email, it’s also the most ideal internal collaboration tool for a sales team, or even a great way to always keep a line of conversation open with your customers. Don’t take our word for it; see for yourself.
If you want to build amazing experiences around messaging, head to Mitter.io and get in touch with our team. We guarantee that you’ll find just what you need (and then some).