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.)
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?