Millions of users send text messages every day to chat with family, friends, and business associates. The most common method of sending text messages is SMS. SMS is the default method since the messaging app comes bundled with all mobile phones. Anyone can send a message to anyone else as long as they have their phone number.
While SMS is simple to use it is becoming obsolete. This is because it is not suited for the myriad ways in which we communicate today. This includes sending multimedia files, group chats, and video calls. Besides, when you send SMS messages you don’t know when the recipient has read the message.
Equally important is the fact that people have become very sensitive to spam. SMS, unfortunately, doesn’t require the recipient to opt-in to receive messages from the sender. So it has become the defacto method to send large-scale spam messages to anyone whose phone number is public. To combat this problem governments across the world have enacted legislation to set up do-not-text lists that phone users can subscribe to, to stop receiving spam SMS messages.
A number of new apps are now available for chat messaging that are becoming increasingly popular. If you are thinking of switching from SMS to another chat app, here are 7 options.
Clariti combines all forms of communication including chats, emails, calls with screen sharing, social media, and shared cloud documents in a single app. While chatting in Clariti does require the recipient to have a Clariti account, the makers of Clariti came up with a creative solution called OrbitChat. With OrbitChat you can chat with anyone who has an email address, without requiring the recipient to have a Clariti account. It is a much more professional way of chatting than sending SMS texts that can be confused with spam.
Clariti also sports a very useful feature called TopicFolder. Just like desktop folders are used for files, TopicFolders are used for organizing all communications, not just files. In fact, TopicFolders are active in that you can continue your conversations on the topic from the TopicFolder and all subsequent communications on that topic are automatically stored in that folder. This eliminates search and prevents information silos. Clariti is free web-based software that is easy to get started with.
Launched in 2009, WhatsApp is one of the most popular texts and voice messaging apps. It is free to use, and you can send messages, make voice calls, and host video chats on both desktop and mobile devices.
WhatsApp does require everyone who wishes to communicate using the app to download it and set up an account. WhatsApp also limits sending large files on the network. These days it is very common to share large video or multimedia files.
Another concern with WhatsApp is that it is owned by Facebook. While it hasn’t happened yet, it is possible Facebook might force WhatsApp users to share their information with Facebook to make them a part of the social network. This raises many privacy issues, especially for business users.
Facebook Messenger is second only to WhatsApp in popularity. Also owned by Facebook it is the default app used by Facebook users to chat with each other. If you are a Facebook user and are not very concerned about privacy, this may be the app for you.
The platform supports text messaging, voice, and video calls including group video calls. Users can personalize their experience with a selection of chat themes, stickers, and custom reactions featuring avatars. Messenger is also a popular customer service channel for brands that have a presence on Facebook. Facebook is free to use for anyone with a Facebook account.
In the 10 years since its launch Line App has become the leading social platform in Japan. Line started as a mobile messaging app but has since evolved into an app that supports everything from news to social feeds to banking and healthcare services. If you want to communicate with people in Japan, this is the most preferred app.
Besides chat, Line supports voice and video calls. Other social features like sharing and creating stickers, OpenChat forums, and streaming music are among the many features supported by this app.
Unlike other mobile apps that require you to disclose your phone number, Kik allows you to sign up and send messages with just your email address, which helps maintain your privacy. Kik Messenger is a free instant messaging and social networking app that uses the smartphone’s data plan or Wi-Fi connection to send messages to other Kik users. Kik appeals to the teenage crowd because of its emphasis on privacy and anonymity. Kik lets you exchange chats, videos, photos, emoji, and other content on the platform and is free to use.
Telegram Messenger App
Telegram is a free, cloud-based chat app that prioritizes security and speed. It claims that all activities on the platform shared between participants are encrypted. The app also lets you set self-destruct timers on messages that can range from two seconds to one week. Besides exchanging chat messages, users can also share photos, videos, locations, and documents.
SnapChat is a free, mobile app for Android and iOS devices. A core feature of the app is that any picture or video or message you send by default is made available to the receiver for only a short time before it disappears. This ephemeral feature of the app was originally designed to encourage a natural flow of conversation.
When it was introduced, it was mainly used for private conversations between users on a one-on-one basis. However, it is now used for many other communications including sharing videos, live video chatting, creating avatars, and sharing a chronological story that can be shared with your followers.
It’s time to leverage new technology
With so many free options available to connect with each other, there is no reason to stick with outdated SMS messages.
As smartphones become more and more powerful with advanced technology for processing information these messaging apps will be used for many day-to-day activities as is now common in Asia. Now is the time to try out these free, new messaging apps and find which works best for you.