What is Messaging?


Reserve September 20, 21 & 22 to learn about the Future of Messaging.  A meeting in Boston will dig deep into all manner and aspects of messaging today, tomorrow, and beyond.  More about that below.

We live in the age of ubiquitous connectivity.  Constant and ever-present devices offer connections of all sorts. We can make calls, view websites, read text messages, watch videos, check stock prices, buy items online, look at photos sent from the next desk, next door, the next state or another continent.

Alerts, texts, notifications, reminders, pings, weather notices, alarms, location updates -  all of these are messages.  Messaging is a primary use online connectivity, be it cellular or broadband.

The web has become Message Central.  The internet allows voices to be heard.  It can be one to one, one to many, or many to many.  It takes various forms, all of which serve different purposes.

There are countless examples: Your mobile phone provider messages you that you are nearing or have gone over your monthly megabytes limit.  Your bank alerts you of a charge to one of your credit or debit cards from a foreign country and asks if you authorized this transaction.  Words With Friends tells you it’s your turn, one of the other players made their move and now you can make your move on the board.

If you use Slack, Basecamp, Trello, SalesForce, GitHub or any of the many collaboration tools for work, play or development, there are always open channels available for communications.  It might be group or individual chat, or a whiteboard session or video conference.   

Skype and Zoom.us offer Video chat and video conferencing. Webex and GoToMeeting also offer meetings with a variety of group and individual messaging options. 

Google offers Google Alerts – notifications via email (or text) when its search algorithm finds something on a topic or query you’ve asked it to follow.  You might be following the NY Yankees or the Hubbell Telescope or a political candidate or a topic you’re studying or writing about in your PhD thesis, or just about anything, and you want Google Alerts to come to you whenever it finds something about that in its constant spidering of all posted content across the internet.

Perhaps you are single and looking for that Miss or Mister Right. You’ve entered all the qualities of your dream date (or dream spouse) into various dating sites and apps, and your phone, tablet or laptop lets you know that one of those has found you a match.  Good for you!

Many blogs offer readers the opportunity to post comments.  Those blog comments became so popular that many websites installed a comments feature on posts that are not blogs.  It is as though the entire web is a chat room that has undergone a massive metamorphosis.

Twitter is brevity messaging at its core. Tweets are posted, they may be retweeted, replied to, liked, in some cases sent as email or privately as one-to-one messages.  Facebook, the largest communications platform on the planet, is where millions upon millions of people post status updates.  Then people may share these, comment on them, copy them, or post them elsewhere.  These are all messages adding to the plethora of overall plethora of messages and messaging that occurs every single day, every hour, every minute.

LinkedIn offers public posting of short form essays in its Focus feature, after which readers may post comments. Posting a comment, one is offered to receive messages when other comments are posted. Another feature of the business social network is direct messaging.  LinkedIn Contacts can send “Inmail” to each other.  As a business network this carries the cachet of business and professionalism.  Cachet in messaging, a new twist, perhaps once akin to the telegram in its singular and personal sense.

Parents message their kids: where are you? Or when will you be home? Or I’ll pick you up at Dylan’s at 5PM sharp.  Spouses message each other: don’t forget we have dinner with the Smiths tonight. Or remember to pick up milk (or the dry cleaning or dog food) on the way home.   Friends message each other: Meet me at Joe’s bar, Happy Hour homegrown craft beers til 9 with pizza and sliders, too. 

 Or any other millions of other short bits of info or data that once were the subject of a phone call and now can be typed or dictated into a device and sent right away.  “Train delayed, no idea when I’ll get home” “Missed flight from Dallas, will let U know if I get plane home 2nite”  “Big client deal closed. Work party 2nite, will B home late”

Email remains the killer app.  Business uses email to send documents with explicatory language and greetings.  But text and collaborative or sharing tools are rapidly gaining traction.  The efficiency of messaging reduced the need for a voice call.  This is why so many voice apps (Kik, Viver, WhatsApp, WeChat) have Chat as part of their service offering.

Messaging is vital, growing, and becoming a predominant feature and use case of connectivity. Chatbots are emerging, with call centers and Artificial Intelligence using this for messaging in a variety of applications.

Later this month there will be a meeting in Boston, MonAge. The name be seem slightly familiar, or may sound so it you say it out loud.  That's becuase it sounds like Vonage.  Jeff Pulver, who created VON, a series of meetings over the years that grew into a community, is producing MonAge, about the future of Messaging.  Jeff originated and later sold the VoIP company Vonage, one of the earliest Voice-over-IP companies.

VON, or Voice over Net, became a gigantic force, a business category, and many of those who attended the early VON meetings went on to great riches.  Numerous mergers and acquisitions occurred among companies attending those gatherings.

Jeff Pulver, who has long been a friend and colleague (he calls me the "Doctor of Time" because I have maintained the speaker time clock at many of his conferences, keeping speakers to their allocated duration) is hosting MoNage/The Future of Messaging as part of his Pulver HWC series.  HWC = How We Communicate.

VON meetings fostered a community ad ushered in a new communications norm.  It all began with Jeff Pulver's early vision and perception of Voice over the Net.  Now Jeff is doing the same with Messaging over the Net.  This is an opportunity to be a part of the future and to get in on the ground floor.