The Short Message System was invented in 1985. Over 30 years later, it is time we move off this archaic system.
"The benefits of SMS are clear. It’s simple, functional, and ubiquitous."
However, advancements in technology are allowing us to move beyond traditional texting and into messaging platforms which empower people to communicate more effectively than before. With SMS alternatives like iMessenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and others, users can benefit from additional features, flexibility, and freedom. Let’s explore them below.
Features — the features of messaging applications include voice recordings, location sharing, and even payments. It allows users to connect with one another in new ways SMS will never support or rather, effectively.
And as these platforms open up to additional services, the messaging application increasingly behaves like a operating system, with unified user identification.
Flexibility — any iMessenger or Google Hangout user will tell you that one of the best features is that your messages travel with you regardless of your device or browser. To jump from a laptop with keyboard, to a tablet while consuming media, to a device you are a guest on, it allows your messages and content to travel with you wherever you are. I actually use WeChat, WhatsApp and
iMessenger in a browser for more hours in a day than I do on my phone.
Freedom — when using SMS, you are committed to a mobile carrier and a cell phone number. You are also tied to your country as international texts have fees and barriers are in place to connect with others. This might be less of an issue for Americans, but it’s certainly a reason for
WhatsApp’s success in Europe and WeChat’s in China (there were fees to text different provinces).
Ultimately, most would agree that messaging applications are more advanced than SMS, but
the network effects of traditional texting have taken hold and the educational switching costs for mainstream users are too high for a sudden shift to take place . Just as mobile finance were long ago recognized to be superior systems, it took the right go-to-market and ecosystem conditions before financial technology. For now, Americans will continue to live with “What’s your number? I’ll text you.”
What are your thoughts about SMS texting and messaging applications?
Feel free to share your comments and opinions below. Look forward to your feedback!