Why I prefer BBM to WhatsApp

whatsapp vs bbm

I have been amused reading the IM war between fans of WhatsApp and die-hard BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) users. I have used both extensively and have my own preference. I am pretty certain that I will adopt BBM when it launches on Android and iOS. I wish that the app would be available for Windows Phone, but that cannot be helped. Thankfully, I own phones that run both Android and Windows Phone and so will not be left out of the BBM craze.

BBM Delivery & Read Statuses

BBM tells me when my message has been read, and does it with accuracy. WhatsApp only tells me when it has been delivered. Some will say that I can check when last the contact was online to determine when my message has been read. I disagree. One: someone may be online, yet has not read my delivered message for any number of reasons. Second: that time stamp is often way off and so unreliable. Just a few days ago, I was chatting with someone at 1.50pm, yet the WhatsApp time stamp read “Last seen today at 7.16a”. I have seen that happen too many times.

BBM Privacy

While I love the fact that WhatsApp is universal because it works based on your phone number, eventually, I found out that I much prefer the ability to determine who connects with me at all in the first place. The ability to choose is priceless. I am a public figure and my phone number often gets around. That means a huge amount of contacts on WhatsApp, though I’d love to keep my experience there a little tighter. With BlackBerry, I get to determine who I connect with.

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On WhatsApp, if someone adds you to a Group, your phone number is automatically accessible to everyone who is a part of that group, whether you want that or not. I have also seen people in my WhatsApp contact that I do not know from anywhere. Perhaps we had belonged to a Group or something. I can’t fully explain it, but it happens. When I try to find out who they are (nicely of course), they don’t know me either – and sometimes, their responses tell me that they suspect that I am attempting to pull a fast one. Usually, I ask if they’d love for me to delete their number. The whole thing is such a chore.

Still on privacy, I honestly am not excited about the WhatsApp time stamp. Regardless of how valid my reasons for not responding to a message on time, there are contacts who just get offended that their message was delivered and I was online, yet sent no reply. There is something called prioritising tasks. I may be online and very busy with others at the time, or attending to business matters (for those of us who work remotely). For example, Mobility staff have a dedicated WhatsApp group for easy communications. Yet, people get offended because WhatsApp tells them that I am online though I am not responding to them. I’d rather just avoid that dilemma and the misunderstandings that arrive from it. WhatsApp time stamp, when it works for the most part, is a horrible snitch. I have the right to be online or offline at any time that I choose, doing whatever I choose to do at the time without having to explain to people who cannot wrap their heads around that. I want my privacy back.

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On BBM, no-one knows when I am online, and a message sent to me gets read by me when I have the time to attend to it and to reply. Usually, when a contact gets notified that I have read their message, my reply is on the way. It is just a saner way to live.

PS: By the way, the Mobility staff Group moves to BBM in the next few days (ignore the typo please):

Mobility A-team

To infinity and beyond…

Those are my two key reasons for preferring BBM to WhatsApp. Yes; the latter app has a wider footprint than BBM, but I don’t care. I do not think that there is anyone out there whose goal is to be able to chat with everyone on the planet. It is like Twitter for me. After I crossed following 250 people, it became difficult to keep up. I have restrained myself in following more handles as much as possible, not because I do not like them but because I just can’t deal with the deluge of information on my TL. In the same way, after a number of contacts, IM becomes tasking. I want to keep things lean and trim.

I am not prone to jumping between multiple chat platforms. My chosen IM platform used to be Yahoo Messenger, and if you were not there, that was it. All other platforms suffered, and if anyone sent me messages elsewhere, it took me time to respond because I was active primarily on Yahoo. People would send me Gtalk and Facebook messages and it would take ages to get a response from me. As Yahoo declined, I jumped on BBM. The problem with BBM was that if you didn’t own a BlackBerry any more, you were out. As such, I defaulted to the cross-platform WhatsApp. The picture has now changed. I can be on BBM without owning a BlackBerry device any more.

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Yes; I would take BBM over WhatsApp if I can help it – and hopefully, I will be able to help it from today, 21st September 2013. Chances are that I will abandon WhatsApp as soon as I establish myself back on BBM.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “Why I prefer BBM to WhatsApp

  • September 21, 2013 at 6:18 am
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    My thoughts exactly…and the time-stamp thing? Annoying! The privacy I enjoyed on BBM is golden so I’m definitely lapping it up once its available for Android.

  • September 21, 2013 at 6:47 am
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    Sound arguments.

    for me, the most important factor is the popularity. there are more people on Whatsapp, hence it is more valuable. end.

    // Chances are that I will abandon WhatsApp
    as soon as I establish myself
    back on BBM.//

    So, what happens to your important Whatsapp contacts that think BBM is ctap and stick to Whatdapp?

    I don’t think it is particularly advisable to abandon the most populated IM app..Whatsapp… in the world, no matter the little annoyances.

    it would be like dumping facebook..

    • September 21, 2013 at 6:57 am
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      So, what happens to your important Whatsapp contacts that think BBM is ctap and stick to Whatdapp?

      I don’t think it is particularly advisable to abandon the most populated IM app..Whatsapp… in the world, no matter the little annoyances.

      My most important WhatsApp contacts have my phone number. The options of voice and SMS are still available to them. Life goes on. I get to make the choices that affect my life. if they want to stay in touch with me, installing BBM shouldn’t be too hard for them to do 😉 Good old email is available too.

      As for the most populated IM, numbers is not always everything. I am tired of the craze for numbers everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, et al. I will take my privacy and sanity over numbers in this case. You don’t want to know how many times in the last several months I have contemplated getting off WhatsApp.

  • September 21, 2013 at 7:31 am
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    While I agree with most points, the last point on privacy is contradictory. You complain about time-stamps because they show that you are online and coupled with the delivery notification, the person on the other end can easily deduce their message has been read (that is not always the case). On the other hand, you praise the read notification on BBM which definitely shows that you have read the message. If you do not reply in both instances, I believe the reaction of the sender will be similar; Mr Mo has read my message but he ignored me and refused to reply. For the most part, the time-stamp serves almost the same purpose lf the read delivery although it is less refined/accurate.

    Secondly, the wide reach of Whatsapp does not mean you should chat with every Tom, Dick and Harry. It only means you can chat with anybody regardless of platform if you want to.

    As for privacy issues involved in giving out your number. I agree with you. That is an inherent flaw in the whatsapp model.

    • September 21, 2013 at 7:36 am
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      Efe,

      No; the WhatsApp time stamp and BBM read notification are totally different. Timestamp shows that you are online, whether you have read the message or not. BBM read shows that you have read the message. In my case, I do not read a message that I do not have the time to respond to. As such, if a message arrives and I do not have the time for that person yet, I do not open it to read it at all. I ignore it till I have the time to attend to it. I am sure that you can see how that plays out on the two different platforms. On BBM, the sender gets no read notification. On WhatsApp, the sender sees me as being online but gets no response.

  • September 21, 2013 at 8:12 am
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    // I get to
    make the choices that
    affect my life. if they want
    to stay in touch with me,
    installing BBM shouldn’t
    be too hard for them to
    do Good old email is
    available too.//

    don’t take offense oooo, Mr Mo. I want to ruffle, and riffle through your feathers small..

    it may not be the intent, but that quite above all sure sounds pretty arrogant.

    reading that, one gets the impression you believe people need you more than you need them.

    always, always, you need people more than they need you. so, I would imagine any business person would be quite passionate about being in touch with his (potential ) business partners..as many as possible. despite some them being potential pests and irritants.

    and yes, I think Efe is 100% correct with his points up there.

    if you read a message on BBM, you may not he able to time respond immediately ..for several reasons. the guy knows may feel ignored. offended. big deal.

    on whatsapp, the guy sees you online, assumes you ignored his message. bigger deal .

    some people would feel offended no matter what. biggest deal.

    same scenario, both.

    whatsapp has a feature to mute, to block . add to Efe’s cogent points, and the arguments are more of what’s important to this our unique individual. … not the majority of people..

    • September 21, 2013 at 8:29 am
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      reading that, one gets the impression you believe people need you more than you need them.

      EyeBeeKay,

      How you interprete what I say is a reflection of your state of mind. Doesn’t change what I wrote and what I meant. And who said this is about business prospects? No offense taken though. My point stands: I choose how I live. I don’t owe people how I choose to live. Simple principle that everyone practices.

      So, when looking for a residence, I ignore my finances and needs, and opt to get a house in a particular area just because it is closer to the people in my life? That’s not the way life works. Sorry. Feel free to ruffle further.

  • September 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm
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    What Soji said.

    Add to that, I’m in agreement with Mr Mo – how you use your phone is determined by you, not others. Recently on the radio I was listening to a discussion where someone said they don’t answer calls after 9pm or take them before 8am unless it’s from family or very close friends. By doing that, people referred to her as “arrogant”. I’m not sure why that should be, because if you respect people’s privacy, you will also make yourself aware of the best way to contact them and how to get in touch with them if it really matters.

    Communicating via Whatsapp is not a do or die affair. We have options, and if people choose BBM over Whatsapp, as we have learned to live with mobile phones and other bits, we will adapt.

  • September 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm
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    People take it easy the title says Why I not why WE , that’s MR Mobility’s opinion.personerly what I have experienced with whatsapp and BBM is that bbm keeps you in the conversation even when d app is open it will alert you of new msg,
    Whatsapp on the other hand won’t alert you when you are in the app while you might have turned your attension to the TV or something else.
    Now let’s argue from that perspective ,BBM clearly won the read and delivered last seen debate.

  • September 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm
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    @Noni, there are people who use a Nokia 105 even when they can afford a Samsung Galaxy S IV.

    Of course it’s their prerogative, just like it was for the strange guy that decided to make his house on top of a tree.

    it is your prerogative to be arrogant, just like it is mine.. to see your attitude as arrogant.

    but we are not discussing prerogatives, but the whys/ logic of choosing one over the other .

    So far, I believe the reasons adduced for choosing BBM over Whatsapp leak smelly water.

    it is also my prerogati to hold that arrogant opinion.

    Dazall

  • September 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm
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    Just remember my predictions. Bbm shall overtake whatsapp. Then i will see what ebekay and efe will say. Privacy matters more to people than popularity, just ask kanye west.

  • January 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm
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    {I was chatting with someone at 1.50pm, yet the WhatsApp time stamp read “Last seen today at 7.16a”. I have seen that happen too many times.}

    That’s true, I emailed them twice with screen shot and they replied there no such problem, everything is fine. Your friends are may be using apps to hide last seen status.

    Really? Almost half of them are using some apps to hide last seen? No way. I switching to Telegram.org

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