Guess what? You can get free apps that do voice-to-voice, video-to-vide, file sharing, and text messaging? Who knew? Well, everyone and that’s where the problem begins. This week I installed another messaging app on a teacher’s Mac in the school where I work.
The app is Line and it provides free voice, video, and messaging. You know. Like FaceTime, Messages, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Signal, Wire, Google Allo, WeChat, and many dozens of others for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. What’s going on?
My iPhone, Mac, and iPad are home to at least 10 different messaging apps that do text, chat, voice, video, and file sharing. Why so many? Because my friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers cannot agree on which one to use. There are so many such messaging apps that it’s difficult to keep up and I’m pretty good at keeping up.
This week I installed Line because some of the faculty use Line more than anything else, though everyone here at the school that uses a smartphone seems to have four or five different messaging apps.
Line appears to be more popular in parts of Asia. WeChat is popular in China. WhatsApp is popular in Europe and parts of the U.S. Facebook and Skype are popular almost everywhere except China. Apple’s FaceTime and Messages are popular with Apple customers. Only a few people I know use Google Allo and not often.
Line is much like all the other apps of similar ilk. It works on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nokia, even Windows and Mac. It does chat messaging, voice and video calls, and, as with Messages on iPhone, it has a few thousand stickers and emoticons to differentiate itself from every other messaging app that has stickers and emoticons.
Photos are easily shared online and there is an option to follow official Line accounts of various celebrities and brands.
How do all these messaging apps set themselves apart from one another? Honestly, I have no idea why people in one part of the world would use one app that does much the same as a different app does for people elsewhere in the world.
“Why can’t we all just get along?”
Not only has texting become free, talking on the phone to people elsewhere in the world– audio and video– is mostly free, too, thanks to a dozen messaging apps that do everything.
They once promised that the internet would turn the world into a village where we’ll know everyone. Instead, the internet has turned the village into a cesspool of misinformation and greater fragmentation to how we communicate with one another.
Communicating the way we can via these messaging apps might be free on the surface, but we still need a smartphone or personal computer. We still need more than one application to connect to those who do not use what we use. And, with all that, somehow we’re a more fragmented species than we were just a few decades ago.