SMS, iMessage, BBM, Skype, Line, Twitter, Facebook: Which messaging systems do you use? [Poll]

SMS, iMessage, BBM, Skype, Line, Twitter, Facebook: Which messaging systems do you use? [Poll]

My life is a series of dissonant beeps and buzzes. My friends and family contact me via Apple's iMessage or old-school SMS, which are at least both built into the same Messages app on iOS, and the former of which at least has a desktop app on OS X. We use Microsoft's Skype as our office phone system at Mobile Nations, so I that's firing away pretty much 24/7 as well (ironically, almost never because of our friends at Windows Phone Central). My colleagues over at CrackBerry use BlackBerry Messenger, so I get those too now. And, of course, the folks at Android Central use Google Hangouts, as do some of my legacy GTalk friends, so I get those in the Hangouts app, and erratically via Jabber in OS X Messages. (I get the occasional AIM there as well. Old school style.)

Twitter Direct Messages come in throughout the day as well. As do occasional messages. Once in a while a Facebook message will join them.

Then there's the wide world of communications and chat apps which seldom if ever cross my radar. The KakaoTalk and Lines that are so popular in Asia, the WhatsApp and Pinger and WeChat as well. Hell, even the Snapchat. (This must be what my parents felt like after finding out what music I was listening to when I was a kid.)

Unlike email, there's no universal protocol that "just works-ish" in every client. Almost every messaging service is garden walled up unto itself. Even if I knew what Line was, I doubt I could just log in with my iMessage ID and suddenly have all my contacts and messages just show up in their interface. Or my Skype chats show up in BBM. Or whatever.

And that sucks, literally, because it means I have to either leave a multitude of battery-draining apps open and the notifications that go with them, or risk finding important messages too late to really do anything about them. It's fragmented. And, frankly, it's maddening.

So that brings me to this poll. How are you handling your communications? Your instant messages? Your chats? Are you using a multitude of services like me? Or have you gotten every that matters to you all in one place, and that's it? Vote up top and then give me the details below. How are you managing your messaging?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

SMS, iMessage, BBM, Skype, Line, Twitter, Facebook: Which messaging systems do you use? [Poll]



yes I notice viber growing on a daily basis - it drops me a little note every time one of my existing contacts joins (3 or 4 week now)

interesting poll, but travelling for business my pref list:

1) WHATSAPP - wow only 11% I would have thought at least 25%
fast, reliable, easy to set up, allows video pics and audio, lets you block contacts, lets you view all media easily over history of conversation, provides delivery receipts.
- only negatives for me are it always shows when you are online which you cannot hide, cannot send gifs on iPhone Whatsapp, cannot use across multiple devices (need to take sim out and place in other device)

2) iMESSAGE - 28% in poll which doesn't surprise.
positives for business are security, can use across multiple devices, can send audio video pics gifs, provides delivery/read receipts.
- still in 7.0.3 can be temperamental or slow to send large files or videos, viewing all conversation media not as user friendly or fast as Whatsapp, doesn't always highlight blue to tell me new contacts are using iMessage

3) VIBER - at first it appears this may be for kids but it's very reliable and has the added bonus of allowing Internet calls to other viber users.

i am amazed the poll shows 17% for SMS... in 2013 and the age if LTE/4G i would have guessed 3% or less - it's also very expensive to SMS when working abroad..

Sent from the iMore App

There IS a universal system, at least in the US. It is SMS.

As long as SMS is bundled with voice in the US, it will continue to be a cluster f. I hate it, and only iMessage had the good sense to understand how to circumvent the problem: Free client with built-in video chat, that defaults to SMS if the other user hasn't got an iPhone.

Google finally figured it out (it seems, though they'll screw it up, I'm sure). But the truth is, there will NEVER be a "data-centric" solution so long as SMS is universal in the united states. And that's sad, because there is so much potential in what skype/hangouts/iMessage can do in terms of file-sharing, video chat, and things we haven't even thought of.

I checked six of the boxes: SMS, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and Twitter.

Hangouts is my fav as it's the only one that works across all devices and OSs, but all the rest get some use as folks rely on their personal preference.

BBM for me. Nothing else compares. Love it on my iPhone and slowly converting people over.

Sent from the iMore App

I simply send sms. And you mention the walled garden. Everyone I know just sends a text to me. I don't use any other services. I have imessage turned on but it's using the text message app. i don't make a distinction and to be fair, i've only seen it being used twice. I don't have a use for the other services. I have some of those apps installed like whatsapp and skype but they've never once been used.

Does anyone besides me miss the unified inbox that Blackberry has? When trying to look up am old message from someone I can search through up to five messaging apps plus email before I can find the message because I can't remember how it was sent to me! Does blackberry have a patent on that or something!?

I miss webOS Synergy, which at least made it look like every person had a unified communications stream.

Sent from the iMore App

I hear you mate. Kinda surprised the rest don't do it. The Universal Inbox on BBOS and Hub on BB10 is one of the reasons i stay with BlackBerry.

You missed ChatOn and Kik. Right now I'm using iMessage, SMS, BBM, Hangouts, WhatsApp and ChatOn. I recently removed Line, Viber and Facebook Messanger apps as I needed to streamline. iMessage is the best with its integration with SMS. Only problem is, my Mom (and a few others I message a lot) are on Android and want to use a messaging solution.
BBM is the biggest disappointment. It's very slow and doesn't provide great notifications especially on my wives 4S. If iMessage just had location sharing and was a little more reliable I'd drop the rest. I'm still waiting for the best all around solution but can't foresee what that'll be...

How am I handling your communications?
I want to use Google Hangouts, but because it's only available for android, ios and web, i use facebook messenger exclusively for chatting, and it's the only service i'm using. I told my friends and siblings that it's the only way to reach me, whether they like it or not. because facebook messenger is available for all platforms everywhere, and everyone seems to use facebook anyway, so why not use it for messaging too?

I'm sure you didn't mean to come across this way & I mean no offense, but I never thought someone could sound so pretentious & douchey when talking about messaging apps :)

As a former Blackberry power user turned Apple fanboy I was so excited BBM was coming to iOS. I "waited in line" for a day and finally was able to use it. Wow what a disappointment. Although not cross-platform, iMessage blows it out of the water. Looks nicer, it's fast, has very similar functionality, and not to mention syncs with my iPad and iMac. Also love that iMessages and SMS is all in one app - it just works.

I like you Rene got sick of all the different ways people would contact me. So I decided to use SMS/iMessage and email for communications. If someone contacted me in another way I told them I do not check Facebook (for example) messages often so it is not a good way to contact me and they need to use SMS/iMessage or email. Some people only got the email option as I do not want them having my cell number.

It took a little while and some people needed to have some messages unanswered because they kept "forgetting" but now my life is much easier. One thing to note is that I actually do not check other messaging systems often. Otherwise it would not be as freeing.

Wish Apple would fix iMessage and messaging in general for iOS 7, still having issues. Texts disappearing and not being able to send multi media text to more than one person! Very very frustrating!!

Sent from the iMore App

I would like an unified messaging client like mail for emails (a better version of good old iChat with more accounts to support). SMS for outside of US has been so far unreliable to me, too many people complaining they never received my messages, and its damn expensive too. I had to use, FB, Whatsapp and viber to at lest cover my communication needs. Skype is a good service but, I think they haven't got mobile right yet. the best part of Viber and whats app for me over Skype, hangout and BBM is I don't have to go and add people one by one (No special ID, no pin), as long as I got their contact saved in my phone, the client finds the person for me.

Seriously I love that iMessage integrates neatly with SMS. But don't see it being expanded to a wider group of ppl who don't use Apple devices.
Whatsapp has a big following here amongst my friends, because it was one of the first. However I hate it as I can't follow my messages on the computer. I use XMS, and LINE more as a result. LINE has been v carefully thought out, with I feel the best voice calls over data and apps/stickers.

Just had this conversation with my friend yesterday and railed against having to use so many damn apps. FB is the app most people I know have, but I hate the thought of them having any more of my info stored. I wish Apple would just make an app for Android so everyone can just jump on that, but it's Apple so they won't try to make our lives easier. Imagine if they charged for it, $5 a year for non Apple users, and made it universal, everyone would jump on that as long as they could make it work.

They just don't seem to get how integral this is for people and I think Google will once again surpass them and become the standard in messaging once Hangout catches up more. I can't go 2 seconds without seeing Hangouts all over my iMore feed.

I use SMS/iMessage SMS for my parents then SMS/iMessage for the wife and Mother-In-Law, Hangouts when I want to send a picture to my mum and a combination of BBM, Twitter DM & Facebook Messaging for everyone else.

SMS/iMessage for everyone with a phone number.
Facebook and Skype when it's annoying to write on a phone, and is more convenient to be on a computer.

I use Skype for work, and SMS/iMessage for pretty much everything else. As long as SMS comes bundled with most US phone plans, I don't see it giving up the ghost anytime soon. For the few international messages I need to send for work, Skype is our company's agreed upon platform. Beyond that, I really don't have any substantial presence in the other messaging platforms. One BBM contact, no Hangouts contacts, and I avoid Facebook anything as a general guideline.

iMessage is perfect and does the job. I don't need anything else to communicate with my buddies and co-workers.

iMessage is my favorite. You can message anyone with an iPhone as long as you have a internet connection. They don't have to your number. It also now supports sending and receiving PDF files and receiving zip files.

Whatsapp lets me talk to a few friends who are overseas that have iPhones or any apple product for that matter

Sent from the iMore App

I use BBM cos it just works brilliantly. Added bonus.. it's now cross platform so even better than the other cross platform apps in my opinion. It's a win win with BBM undoubtedly.

I haven't even heard of some of these messaging platforms. Only SMS iMessage and BBM stood out to me and of curse I only use iMessage and SMS since I along with a lot of my friends moved on from blackberry.

Sent from the iMore App

I've got the multiple app problem right now, but it is getting better. If I look at my phone I see SMS/iMessage and Hangouts on my dock with Facebook Messenger and a now dormant BBM away in a folderon my second page. Facebook will only be used if someone other than me starts a mass group message to organize something. The BBM app proved too buggy for me to actually use so I'm gonna let it sit there and...well, I'll try it again sometime. Could be useful.

What Hangouts and iMessage have in common is syncing from the same source: Google contacts and my device. My contacts are all stored on Google so all I had to do was plug in the information and I was off and running. Boom, everyone I talk to is automatically a contact either way. Not quite the same with FB and definitely not the case with BBM.

Microsoft Messenger since 1994. 3 years ago had to switch to Yahoo messenger since everyone I know was on it. The last year it became SMS or Facebook since it's the only single platform everyone I know is on.

iMessage for personal and Lotus Notes Sametime at work.

I like how iMessage automatically switches to wi-if which is a huge cost saver when traveling to other countries.

Sent from the iMore App

SMS/iMessage/email for me. I miss out on some things because some people only communicate through Facebook...but oh well.

It is so much easier to communicate with people on iMessage because it is on all my iDevices. I hate texting so messaging from the desktop....where I am 12 hours a much easier and faster. If iMessage would someday handle msgs to the non-Apple phones of the world life would truly be wonderful.

My chat requirements are very simple and so I use only two major chat apps with two other occasionals for long distance. The one I use the majority of the time is iMessage simply because most the people I talk to have iOS devices. There are a few people like my brother who not only lives internationally but also uses Blackberry. Then there are two or three family members and one or two friends with Android devices. So I was impatiently waiting for BBM to finally drop. The other third party apps have a ridiculous join up process and they don't support all the features I need. One might support Android but not Blackberry, one might have all the platforms but not group chat, etc. So BBM is now my second messaging app and we all love it so far. We've had group chats, for the first time in years I was able to text with my brother it was great. When you get accustomed to using iMessage you no longer remember to ask if that person using an Android device has picture messaging. You just shoot off the picture and then when they tell you they didn't get it you suddenly remember they don't have an iPhone. BBM fixes all that because it does all the things iMessage does without the "iPhone only" issue. Once a week I get together with some great friends to do a podcast, one is from the US and the other although in the same province is usually in a different city. So we get together in a hangout and do our thing. When my wife and I talk to family in Europe or the Caribbean it's FaceTime because they have iOS devices and we want to see them. The hardest of all the messaging apps I use is hangouts but luckily it doesn't matter because my friends and I are all techliterate so that's pretty much a non issue.

Mostly using iMessage, which works beautifully, does all I need it to do and most of my family and friends have iOS devices. I have one friend I talk to a lot who doesn't, and for her I use TextNow, which wasn't listed in the survey. It's functional, it's free, and it includes voice calling. The one thing I don't like about it is the hoops one has to go through to send photos and video to others. It can be done but is clunkier than it should be. Receiving media from her works fine.

Truthfully I use a couple of the others on here like Skype and BBM for iOS but not enough to really make it count.

I use Messages for iMessage and SMS because it’s the same app and it’s open by default. Anything else just drains the battery. I only use Skype and Viber when I absolutely have to.

BBM? Puhleze.

OUI ! tu as raison imessage est trés bien mais moi dns mon iphone je garde ses applicatoion de messagerie : BBM , Imessage , Whatsapp,Viber,Tango et Message me