Join us for Chat Apps 101
Humans have a long history of chatting, from sending owls to each other (that’s how telegrams worked, right?) to the thrill of that ‘You’ve Got Mail’ alert. I for one spent most of the noughties updating my status on MSN Messenger, and I regret nothing. Granted, our chats are becoming more immediate and sometimes ephemeral (I’m looking at you, Snapchat), but we’ve always had this desire to chat with our friends in a personal space.
Chatting is a much more natural behaviour than broadcasting. The IRL equivalent of sharing on platforms like Facebook or Instagram? Running into the street and telling everyone ‘my baby ate avocado!’. It’s just not what we do (unless we’ve had a really, really great day – or really, really love avocado). Tracking down your BFF to moan about your boss, however, is a lot more natural.
This instinctive behaviour, combined with the growing capabilities (read: sparkly filters) of platforms like Snapchat, mean chat apps are taking over. A late-2015 report, Connected Life, revealed that half the planet’s population use chat apps every day.
With this shift from public platforms to private spheres comes a shift in behaviour, too. Facebook and Instagram are (mostly) all about picture-perfect scenes from your holiday/wedding/bar mitzvah. You want to present the best version of yourself, because you’re presenting it to literally everyone you’ve ever met – your old teacher, that university fling, a potential new boss… the list goes on (and gets more random). With chat apps, you act differently. You probably wouldn’t send a photo of your perfectly-crafted breakfast to your mates (if you would, you need some better chat), but you might send them a truly ugly selfie you took when you were bored. Chat apps allow you and your conversation to be that little bit more real.
While the behaviour of chatting is basic, chat apps are far from that – they’re constantly evolving to find new ways to keep people around. With the release of chat bots on Messenger, the potential for brands to get involved has stepped up a gear. Chat apps are increasingly where the people are, so chat apps are where brands need to be. Don’t be late to the party!
Speaking of parties (kind of), we’re hosting Chat Apps 101 on Wednesday 25th May, an evening where we help brands (and marketers) make sense of this brave new world. Sign up here for words of wisdom from Facebook Messenger, QUARTZ , Kik, and the BBC.