What messaging war?

2018-11-14 2 min read

    Apparently there’s a “messaging war” going on among the dozens of apps and social networks, all competing to be the dominant messaging app. There really are a ton of these. I have a folder on my phone dedicated to messaging and it contains Apple Messages, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Signal. In addition, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all have messaging functionality. Adding these up I have 10 messaging apps on my phone.

    It’s clear that there’s fragmentation but it also doesn’t affect me at all. Each of the apps provides basically the same functionality and if there’s another messaging app introduced I’ll just download that one too. I go wherever my contact is and I keep my notification settings the same for every app. The market may be fragmented but my workflow is so app agnostic it doesn’t actually matter. All I really need to keep track of is who uses what app but given my list of contacts is both small with strong recency properties I’m able to choose the appropriate app subconsciously. Some of my friends are on WhatsApp, others on Messages, others on Hangouts, and one on Singal. But the point is that doesn’t matter. It’s simple enough for me to have and use Signal even if it’s just for one person. Maybe others are more passionate about messaging and have their favorite app but I view them as purely utilitarian. They’re no different to me than a grocery store - I just go to whichever one is more convenient at that time.