Choosing your chat application

Hypothetically, a new user buys a “smart-phone”. How does the user navigate through the options?

The individual might stumble on this chart:

Let’s ignore the Chinese applications, because the users have no real choices. This eliminates atleast four applications (WeChat leading the pack). Telegram is up against the Meta family of applications and to my knowledge, they have never done any advertisements.

Facebook has a marketing budget of millions of dollars.

They started the “Free-Basics” program and spent a lot of money to “pre-install” Facebook Messenger (and WhatsApp) on new devices, reducing user friction. These were in the “global south” (including Africa), where the “dark continents” were getting Internet for the first time. Free Basics was in direct contravention of net-neutrality, and my placing the applications as “default”, eliminated others. This was an extension of how Microsoft gained “market share” for Internet Explorer and effectively eliminating Firefox. The telcos are happy to “cut costs” wherever they can without realising the long-term implications (especially as a threat to national security).

My concern is that users are devoid of alternatives, which will hurt themselves in the long-term. Your choices are conditioned by subtle “inception”, as the “wisdom of the crowd” is rarely correct. All WhatsApp data (despite claims of “encryption”) is fed to Facebook (meta) for targeted advertisements and “surveillance”. External contractors can see your personal chats. There is almost zero concept of privacy. Mainstream media reinforces these habits by encouraging you to connect to services through WhatsApp and eliminating the choices available to consumers.

It is understandable that users want to concentrate their communication in one application, and may require some effort to shift their respective networks. I, for once, achieved this through elimination of “FOMO” or fear of missing out” and understanding the associated costs of context switching (where repeated notifications bog you down from doing meaningful work). Besides, I have heard users claim (rather triumphantly) they don’t read any group messages. What could be worse? Isn’t that a false flag, then?

For those who are reading this (as my contact lists), I am standing by to help (and assist you) if you face any issues. For everyone else on open Internet, there are numerous excellent guides on Telegram (or do a search here on the blog).

Make your choices, wisely!

One thought on “Choosing your chat application

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