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  1. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Default Is BBM still relevant...

    Hi all, I've been regularly following the threads on this forum for a few weeks now, so much so that I'd like to get involved and share an idea I've had for a while. I'm not sure what will come of sharing it - but I hope you all enjoy it and see the same potential in it as I do.

    I'm sure many of us are familiar with the notion of how 'sticky' a platform is. That ability to keep hold of its user base. Networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all extremely sticky. The instant gratification of a new follow, the smile a 'like' can bring or the sense of being involved in the life and times of friends & family. These (in my opinion) are some of the major contributing factors to their growing success as networks.

    BBM was (and some would argue still is) the undisputed champion in terms of Instant Messaging (IM). In terms of UX, OS integration and features it stood head and shoulders above the rest. However, it hasn't been developed as quickly as many would have liked. Things like Whatsapp have come along and arguably stolen the crown. It would seem that many (if not the majority) are willing to trade a larger cross-platform base for a poorer user experience and feature list.

    Contrary to how it might be sounding, I'm not here to propose that BBM go cross platform. I firmly believe that keeping it exclusive will prove to be the correct decision in the long run - but only if they build upon what it is currently. It is proving over time to be less effective at retaining its user base (in some countries) - which is somewhat surprising when you look at its dominance as recently as a few years ago.

    I feel this is because the main strength of BBM is also its biggest weakness - connectivity. The user experience of BBM is (generally speaking) proportional to the number and/or quality of your contacts. The more contacts you have the better and more useful your experience (again, generally speaking).

    I'm sure many of us have seen ever decreasing numbers by way of our BBM contact list - and this is the where the main weakness resides. The more contacts that leave BBOS (and so BBM) the worse our experience of BBM gets - and the easier it then becomes for us to leave also - which then trickles down to our contacts and so on and so forth. So a platform that is incredibly sticky when the reachable user base is high becomes increasingly toothless as the size of that base decreases.

    Maintaining (or even increasing) this reachable base for the average BBM user is the key to keeping BBM as a unique selling point for BlackBerry as a brand.

    In the run up to BB10 I've heard RIM referring to BBM as a social network in itself. I'd somewhat agree with that statement but I'd also argue that they could do more to live up to that moniker - especially with the unlikely result of BBM going cross-platform any time soon.

    BBM as it currently stands is very much a closed, private network. There's no way to reach out and find others like you can do on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. There's currently no native way to grow your network. The rise in popularity of PIN sharing sites shows that many people are interested in such a feature - increasingly so as many of their friends and family switch to other mobile platforms.

    With the acquisitions RIM has made over the past few years - the pieces are all in place to do something very special. We've seen the new photo filters and effects that RIM is baking into BB10. We've also heard of the amazing video editing that will come by way of Jaycut. I think RIM has an opportunity to aggregate all of this content under the banner of BBM, much like they did with BBM Music and launch a new/revamped service called 'BBM Profile' - or simply shortened to 'Profile'.

    As it stands BBM Music allows a feed of all of your contacts' BBM Music activity - so all of their playlists, alterations to playlists, new song additions, connections, comments and status updates are aggregated into one central feed. This is done through you creating a profile and then interacting and sharing your content with others - much like a friend request on Facebook.

    What I'm proposing is that RIM replicate/extend this service to include the new BB10 filter photographs and Jaycut edited videos - along with other things such as Blackberry World updates, app downloads and 'Games' scores/activity. Also, if third party APIs will allow for such functionality you could also include - Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook activities (if you decide to connect them to your BBM Profile that is). Thus providing the richest content stream of any social network that I'm aware of - and crucially all exclusive to BlackBerry users.

    They have the infrastructure in place with BBM Music and its music streaming service. Granted, extra bandwidth would be needed for the addition of videos (over say a relatively small 6MB song) but RIM has a long history of efficient data compression - so I wouldn't see it as a logistical impossibility, especially if some sort of data cap was put on file uploads.

    With a few tweaks on the existing mechanics and framework of BBM Music we could have our own amalgamated version of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The simple addition of a 'follow' button, a 'like' button and the continued supporting of the 'invite to BBM' button could really transform it into something special and more importantly something of value to the average user. For example, take a typical user that left BlackBerry because Angry Birds (or any other app) wasn't available - do you think they'd be as quick to leave if they had say 1,000 followers because of their talent for shooting stunning photography, creating amazing playlists, editing breathtaking videos, or being the best gamer? I'd argue not.

    ...Just imagine if you could get Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or anyone else of a similar social ilk to create a BBM Profile. Imagine how many people they would attract to the brand. It could put BlackBerry back on the map (even if there were still app and other platform deficiencies).

    It really could be something special - and would automatically mean that BBM Profile would become one of the largest social (mobile) networks in the World - with 65 million users!

    When you throw in Blackberry World updates and 'Games' scores you also start to increase the value proposition for developers - through increased app visibility and interaction between connected users. Say Justin Bieber downloaded a new app and posted a Profile update about it - I'm sure it would go viral in minutes (making the developer very wealthy in the process).

    Admittedly, such a service wouldn't be for everyone - but I strongly believe it would be for many. Especially when you look at the recent growth of something like Instagram. People like to share and people like to connect. BlackBerry is often held up as the bastion for all things social in mobile and I think this would definitely enhance that status.

    Another benefit of having a service like BBM Profile ahead of say BBM comes from the elevated status that BBM Profile could be given. It could be promoted as the new jewel in the BB10 social crown - which would then allow for greater flexibility in terms of BBM (or a bare bones version of it) going cross-platform - as you wouldn't be throwing away your ace card. The obvious benefit of this is that a cross platform BBM then has the opportunity to try and reclaim the 'top spot' back from Whatsapp.

    So to conclude - I think it can be done and I think it should be done. I think it could be great and most importantly I think the people that left BlackBerry will think it's great too.

    Apologies for rambling on - I hope you stuck with me to the end.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on the feasibility or appeal of such a service.


    Mr F
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    el_excelsior (12-10-2012) 
  2. simu31's Avatar
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    60million+ people can't be wrong !!!

    Si.
  3. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simu31 View Post
    60million+ people can't be wrong !!!

    Si.
    Hi Si

    What do you mean by that?
  4. ldudiaz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is BBM still relevant...

    he means that there are 60 millions plus actice bbm users.
  5. bb624's Avatar
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    Yes it is...how nice to chat with people all over the world. Learn about different cultures. Build relationships and friendship that would never happened without BBM.
  6. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Yes, that is something I acknowledged - and I am in fact one of those 60+ million. That was not where I was coming from with what I wrote. I think many would acknowledge that BBM is one of the main draws of BlackBerry as a platform. I'm still a Blackberry user as the pros far outweigh the cons - but for many losing contacts on BBM meant the once catch was no longer such. If BBM is one of the main reasons that you own a BlackBerry and you lose 60-70% of your contacts then other alternatives start to look extremely attractive. This is something I've witnessed (and heard of) many times over the past few months. There are 60+ million active users - that's a given - but surely something extra has to be offered to attract those that previously used it and still left? Especially if there is not app parity with the platform that they moved to. Granted BB10 will bring many new features to the table - but many were drawn to the platform because of BBM - and those same people left because of BBM. What I'm suggesting is just adding to the strengths of BBM and bolstering it against future declines in user numbers (from the perspective of someone that has already moved to another device).
    sidby likes this.
  7. Mr_F's Avatar
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    I'm not suggesting that it isn't - I was simply posing the question from the perspective of someone that has already left (not a current user like you or me). It is something I hear often - 'BBM, been there done that. What new things have they added?'. I'm often left without a satisfactory answer. So my point is something extra might entice them back to the platform and make it less easy for them to leave in the future.
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  8. BergerKing's Avatar

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    BBM is probably the one thing I miss from BlackBerry, even with using an alternate chat service.
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  9. Syrous44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is BBM still relevant...

    Rather simple for bb faithful yes its very relevant. For people on other platforms or that left bb for the others its clearly an after thought. I for one don't miss it moving to android as i am in touch through other ims that are just as good. The upcoming video chat is cool but ios has facetime and others use Skype. Before Long android will have its own as well. To me bbm had n nothing enticing for me to come back to rim just for that reason alone.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
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  10. BoldWorld's Avatar
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    Sounds like wonderful ideas.

    I just asked my self, When was the last time a current contact was added to my BBM list? I can't remember

    Which means no one I already know got themselves a new BB
  11. Syrous44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is BBM still relevant...

    The sad thing for me was when i first got a bb within a year i had close to 150 bbm contacts. Before i switched to android this summer i was down to 7. That just shows how really relevant it really was. Good news is I still have contact with most of my original 150 through other IM services.
    In the end i don't think bbm is going to be the main feature that will attract people back to bbs with bb10. 3rd party IM's finally have caught up and leveled playing field, not to mention growing resurgence of SMS due to unlimited texting in plans.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
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  12. cfx_will's Avatar
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    Yeah I completely agree with OP. For BBM to expand, it has to become like other social networks. They are starting the "look through profile album" thing like facebook but i think they should integrate even more if possible.
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  13. kevinnugent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syrous44 View Post
    The sad thing for me was when i first got a bb within a year i had close to 150 bbm contacts. Before i switched to android this summer i was down to 7. That just shows how really relevant it really was. Good news is I still have contact with most of my original 150 through other IM services.
    In the end i don't think bbm is going to be the main feature that will attract people back to bbs with bb10. 3rd party IM's finally have caught up and leveled playing field, not to mention growing resurgence of SMS due to unlimited texting in plans.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
    Here's the trouble. Unless you are a teenager in the UK, a third world resident or a Carribean citizen you are pretty much alone.
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  14. grahamf's Avatar
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    I never use BBM. I've got unlimited text and picture messaging on my plan, and I can email files.
    Video chat might be interesting, but I need to wait up to two years for everyone's contracts to expire and for them to upgrade, hopefully to BB10 devices.
    Blackberry 10 > Windows Phone 7/8 > Blackberry 7 > WebOS > iOS > Android > Symbian > Meego
  15. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syrous44 View Post
    The sad thing for me was when i first got a bb within a year i had close to 150 bbm contacts. Before i switched to android this summer i was down to 7. That just shows how really relevant it really was. Good news is I still have contact with most of my original 150 through other IM services.
    .... 3rd party IM's finally have caught up and leveled playing field, not to mention growing resurgence of SMS due to unlimited texting in plans.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

    My story is a similar one - except for the switching bit. Using a BlackBerry is still beneficial to me (hence me still using one) but for people that saw BBM as the be all and end all of owning a BlackBerry - rapidly losing contacts on BBM is what pushed many over the edge. So for those same people an unchanged BBM offers no incentive to return - especially because other IM services have caught up (as you pointed out).

    Are we saying those people are lost forever?
  16. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevinnugent View Post
    Here's the trouble. Unless you are a teenager in the UK, a third world resident or a Carribean citizen you are pretty much alone.
    Exactly. BBM is growing its user base in some countries - but I sadly do not live in one of those countries. BBM users are not as common find as they once were in my day to day life - so wouldn't having some kind of in-built search tool build a bridge between users that would have no other way of finding each other.
  17. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cfx_will View Post
    Yeah I completely agree with OP. For BBM to expand, it has to become like other social networks. They are starting the "look through profile album" thing like facebook but i think they should integrate even more if possible.
    Hi cfx_will. I don't think I've heard of that 'look through profile album' that you mentioned. What is it? Sounds interesting
  18. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bb624 View Post
    Yes it is...how nice to chat with people all over the world. Learn about different cultures. Build relationships and friendship that would never happened without BBM.
    Yes, I agree - that is one of the beautiful things about BBM - but out of interest how do you connect with those people 'all over the world' that you mention? And more specifically how does your average BBM user connect with someone in a different country without putting their PIN on a PIN sharing site?
  19. FunktasticLucky's Avatar
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    you know... even my fandroid friends and brother still miss BBM. Even with all the Gtalk integration and everything else they say BBM just works a lot better. I can't give up BBM. Especially since I can chat with my dad and mom and my sister while I'm stationed here in Japan... and now thanks to BBM Voice I can even call them up.
  20. Syrous44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is BBM still relevant...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_F View Post
    My story is a similar one - except for the switching bit. Using a BlackBerry is still beneficial to me (hence me still using one) but for people that saw BBM as the be all and end all of owning a BlackBerry - rapidly losing contacts on BBM is what pushed many over the edge. So for those same people an unchanged BBM offers no incentive to return - especially because other IM services have caught up (as you pointed out).

    Are we saying those people are lost forever?
    I am not saying they are lost forever. I am just saying that for most past berry owners or people that never used a bb, bbm won't be the number one thing that will draw them to adopting a bb again or for the first time. It hasn't currently and it won't happen with bb10. (i might be wrong you never know)

    My leaving the bb platform had nothing to do with lack of contacts on bbm or bbm for that matter. I left because bb os and hardware was becoming to buggy and archaic for me. Coupled with the constant delays with bb10 I switched to something new and have not regretted my choice. To me rim is so behind in a few key points.

    BB10 looks like it will finally solve these issues and that's great, l love competition and want rim to survive. However, before I even consider picking up a bb again rim has to prove to me its on par or better with ios or android. To me the proof is in the pudding.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
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  21. kbz1960's Avatar
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    It would be if it were on all platforms.
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  22. Rello's Avatar
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    My response to the OP, is honestly in its current form, yes I do believe bbm is irrelevant. I have 20+ contacts...but I personally know none of them. It's cool that u can build relationships with people across the world, but u still want to actually know people on your contact list. I live in the US though so it's gonna be awhile before I get people I know back on my contact list. This is a huge reason why I'm hoping BB10 can turn people perception around here in North America
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  23. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syrous44 View Post
    I am not saying they are lost forever. I am just saying that for most past berry owners or people that never used a bb, bbm won't be the number one thing that will draw them to adopting a bb again or for the first time. It hasn't currently and it won't happen with bb10. (i might be wrong you never know)

    My leaving the bb platform had nothing to do with lack of contacts on bbm or bbm for that matter. I left because bb os and hardware was becoming to buggy and archaic for me. Coupled with the constant delays with bb10 I switched to something new and have not regretted my choice. To me rim is so behind in a few key points.

    BB10 looks like it will finally solve these issues and that's great, l love competition and want rim to survive. However, before I even consider picking up a bb again rim has to prove to me its on par or better with ios or android. To me the proof is in the pudding.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
    I think we're singing from a similar song book. You having switched and holding the view that RIM has to do something extra special to 'win' you back is a valid one and precisely what I'm saying. In terms of platform parity (out of the gate) it may be unlikely with a completely new OS - so in that case I feel they need to differentiate and build upon existing strengths. They seem to building on existing strengths with the new keyboard and the Hub. BBM is also widely considered to be a platform strength - and as such needs building on in the same way as the others.
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  24. Mr_F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunktasticLucky View Post
    you know... even my fandroid friends and brother still miss BBM. Even with all the Gtalk integration and everything else they say BBM just works a lot better. I can't give up BBM. Especially since I can chat with my dad and mom and my sister while I'm stationed here in Japan... and now thanks to BBM Voice I can even call them up.
    ...What would happen if your Mum, Dad and/or Sister decided to get an iPhone or Android device? Would BBM still be so great or would it become a shadow of what it used to be when you still had them as contacts?
  25. kbz1960's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_F View Post
    ...What would happen if your Mum, Dad and/or Sister decided to get an iPhone or Android device? Would BBM still be so great or would it become a shadow of what it used to be when you still had them as contacts?
    What if you have a iPhone and all of your Mum, Dad and/or Sister decided to get an BlackBerry or Android device? Would facetime still be so great?
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