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Teenagers say goodbye to Facebook and hello to messenger apps (theguardian.com)
92 points by qsymmachus on Nov 10, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 112 comments

Of course teens are leaving Facebook. I'm pushing 30 and use Facebook to share pictures of my kid with my parents and my wife's parents and my wife's grandmother (all of whom are active on Facebook). If I were a teenager, I wouldn't use it with all that parental oversight.

If there wasn't all this youth worship in Silicon Valley, nobody would see this as a problem for Facebook. We have a lot more disposable income than teenagers do.

"We have a lot more disposable income than teenagers do."

That's arguable. Most people I know with teenagers would say their kids have more influence on family spending than they do.

For me personally, years of barely scraping by have left me with anxiety and guilt anytime I spend money on frivolous things. My kids on the other hand seem to have no issue spending their allowance on movies, toys, and shitty little trinkets. I'm not sure how to instill a sense of frugality without letting them go hungry for a while.

I'm not sure how to instill a sense of frugality without letting them go hungry for a while.

Non-parent (I only rent them from friends and family) advice here: Charitable work with the poor. Anything that gets them interacting with the less fortunate on a personal level, not just abstract stories from Dad about it was like when he was a kid, but stories from the people living them right now. You don't feel bad about depriving your kids, they learn some empathy for people with different life experiences and how lucky they are to be born into the right family and last but not least, in the process you help to make the world a better place.

My parents never gave us an allowance. If we wanted to go to the movies with a friend, or if there was a book I wanted, they'd pay for it (within reasonable limits)- but no allowance.

The only cash I got was from grandparents for birthday/christmas, or doing yard work. But my main hobby was reading, so I just went to the library and never did any yard work as I didn't need the money.

As a teenager it slightly irritated me, when I saw some of my friends whose parents gave them 20 euros a week or w/e- but now as an adult I live as frugally as one can live as an engineer in the bay area (I still eat out way too much, silly social pressure) and am glad my parents did it that way.

As you indicate, you were the minority. Teens are perhaps one of the most valuable consumer markets.

Yup, I realize that. OP was sharing his interrogations about how he could best instill a sense of frugality in his kids, so I thought I'd give him an additional data point :)

I'm not sure there's any way to learn frugality without having to practice it for real. It is likely that a point will come in their lives when they do have to practice it; at that point, they will learn it. If that point never comes, they won't have to learn it. But, hey, they never needed to.

I remember my dad making various attempts to teach me to be careful with money when i was a kid. It was all water off a duck's back, because it was obvious to both of us that it was just a game. Then i went to university and had a rigidly fixed amount of student loan to live off. And hey presto, i learned how not to spend money.

Make them get a part-time job. Realizing that a trinket equates to a couple hours of their life should demotivate frivolous spending.

> That's arguable. Most people I know with teenagers would say their kids have more influence on family spending than they do.

I don't have any teenagers, but I spend way more money as a young adult than I ever did as a kid. Kids spend money on movies and toys and trinkets, but grownups buy cars, handbags, computers, meals at expensive restaurants, etc.

I would fake the paycut. You think it would work ? I am not saying you shouldn't spend money on things useful to them (education, clothing and food) but that might do the trick.

Huh. This is a really good point that I hadn't thought of before (maybe it's a really common argument I just hadn't come across).

Because, come to think of it, the moment my parents joined Facebook, I immediately had to start regulating what I posted too. And I'm in my middle 30s!

I don't know about you, but I personally assume that everything I'm posting online is publicly available, including to my parents, and regardless of whether or not they are users of the service that I am posting to. I have very little faith in Google, Facebook, Twitter et al. to not decide to publish all of my private information. As the saying goes, information wants to be free.

It's not about whether it's available to my parents. It's about whether it's promoted to my parents.

> We have a lot more disposable income than teenagers do.

Most marketing research would disagree with you, not strictly on available disposable income, we (24-35 year olds) are not nearly as valuable as teens.

Teens are

- More susceptible to viral/video/visual/interactive marketing

- More Impulsive

- More trendy (their friends have it, they must)

- Are one of the best ways to separate a discerning parent from their money

- Less Discerning.

- More Naive

- Have a longer lifetime value


This brings up a really good point. Being in my early 20's and in college, I have many friends who have a strict policy of not friending family on Facebook or going by a pseudonym because they don't want their parents seeing all the picture of them partying etc.

I wonder if FB had implemented a feature like G+'s circles, if this wouldn't be an issue.

You have lists on FB that is equivalent of G+'s circles.

You do but privacy policies and what who can see on whose time line keeps changing. Timelines haven't always been a thing either. So if you've used facebook for a while, the incoherent and mercurial scope of information prevents you from wanting to share anything that could be misinterpreted by anyone. And you have to assume that everything will be scraped somewhere for all of eternity.

Facebook has messed with the privacy settings enough that people who are watching what they are doing don't trust them. For people who aren't paying attention, the privacy settings are too confusing to trust.

Snapchat? Recipient views picture once, and if they try to save it you know.

Watching this with my emerging teenagers. Their biggest complaint is that FB is complicated. They are super comfortable using stand alone apps for single use tasks. FB won't let them double tap a screen to love. It moves things around so they're out of chronological order. It all drives them nuts. Plus it's true that Uncles and Grandparent's comment and that freaks them out.

Facebook's inability to keep my newsfeed in a consistent order is a massive irritation.

FB won't let them double tap a screen to love.

Does that mean something? Is there a new app you double tape on things to "love" them instead of "like" them?

Instagram heart

What's the full progression of vapid casual enthusiasm?

Like -> Love -> (Have Sex With) -> (Worship as The One True God) -> (Idealize as The Genius Successor of Steve Jobs) -> (Give Read/Write Access to My Bank Accounts) -> (Grant my Power of Attorney To) -> (Dissolve Myself and Transfer My Full Agency as a Human To)

Where does "digg" fall in that?? ;-)

It seems like FB's Instagram purchase was a good move then.

I think so.

May I ask why is there so much fuss about youngsters? Yes, they will be the consumers of tomorrow but how about the consumers of today? I’m in my early 40s I earn a lot and I spend a lot. Plus I have my interests pretty fixed. Why aren’t the companies drooling to get my attention instead?

> Plus I have my interests pretty fixed. Why aren’t the companies drooling to get my attention instead?

Couldn't "Plus I have my interests pretty fixed." be the answer to that question?

That can be read multiple ways, in that even the worlds dumbest advertising / spyware network should be able to easily figure out I'm into hard sci fi and have been into hard sci fi for a long time and probably be into hard sci fi for quite awhile, such as the financially precious immediate future where I will almost certainly drop some $$$ on sci fi books. I'm an easy sell, I know what I like, it should NOT be hard for advertisers to figure it out, I want to spend money on it, and I've got plenty of money. But nobody cares. You don't get PR by making money, only by getting eyeballs and accounts.

On the other hand, watching my own kids, its star wars today, gone tomorrow. Minecraft today, gone tomorrow. Lego today, gone tomorrow. Even if you could track my son and accurately predict his current interests, knowing that he WAS really into star wars a year ago is pretty much financially useless given that he seems to be into lego branded cartoons right now, although next year both will be forgotten in favor of something else.

I think your example of your kids' interests is exactly why that demographic is seen as so valuable for advertising.

One poster has a middle-aged interest in hard sci-fi; for $x advertising allocation per individual it's going to be difficult to shift his interests. The same $x applied to teenagers year after year 'flips' them from one revenue-generating interest to another. And sets them up, the advertisers hope, for a non-niche middle-aged interest.

Two reasons: people form habits early and young people are hard to reach.

The first one is simple: Facebook and other social apps are about network effects and habits: checking daily to see what your friend are up to, while sharing the same. I'm not sure what the stat is in the past year, but for every year since it started the most stunning stat to me was that 50% of their users checked every day. When the habit starts to erode the network effects can cause acceleration, raising questions about Facebook's future.

The other reason is that teens are a very hard demographic to reach. Twenty years ago, companies could air commercials on MTV, put ads on FM radio, and create full page ads in magazines to reach teens. Today, teens are doing a lot less of this. As a result, companies that can reach these younger audiences can charge a hefty premium due to scarcity. You're a highly desirable demographic as well -- 25-44 with disposable income. But they already have ways to reach people like us.

I feel that this is also because of the tech world is still watching who's going to build the "Facebook killer." There are many companies that tried but I think the fact that they are contemporaries of Facebook already put them at a disadvantage. If Facebook is to be displaced, I don't think it's going to happen with its current-generation user-base of twenty-somethings. Whatever it is, it'll probably take off by acquiring today's teens as the main user base. That's why it's important to observe their social networking behaviors.

Teenagers are a 200-billion dollar market and are generally very social and trendy.

I guess habits, yours are already formed, while teenagers are more easily to mold. Habits are difficult to change. "What do you mean there is no Internet anymore on my computer, I dont want that firefly!!? Its buttons are all wrong."

"while teenagers are more easily to mold"

Lets play a fun game. Only us wanna be near senior citizens get to play. Its claimed that its financially valuable to monetize teen "tech" fads, now that we're old and wealthy lets see how companies are cashing in on our teen years, to get an idea of how incredibly valuable it will be to cash in on todays teen fads.

1) The music market dominance of heavy metal and grunge, and cassette tape as its delivery medium.

2) Beanie babies as an investment portfolio, also baseball cards. I'm a hair too young for the MtG card fad.

3) AOL chat rooms lead the market, as does AOL in general.

I will admit defeat in womens fashion which follows a generational pattern, where my mom wore bell bottom pants, therefore all the girls were wearing bell bottom pants again, 20 years after she did. Similar patterns in the popularity of tights/yoga pants, and the cyclical nature of miniskirt length. But these are not tech related issues and they appear impossible to profit off of, unless you're in the biz and you simply ship this year whatever was cool 20 years ago.

I've been hearing this claim that teens are molded into inflexible consumers all my life without any actual citations, so I feel safe calling it bogus in the future if its always proven bogus in the past.

MtG will be turning twenty soon, and it's stronger than ever. A Black Lotus bought in 1998 for $300 is now worth $3000. I'm pretty sure it's more than just a fad.

From the OP's closing sentence:

> But there is little doubt that millions of teens will use these apps more and more, and older demographics will eventually join them. There's a good chance that will continue to be at the expense of Facebook.

Wow, that's quite the compelling evidence...the Guardian has "little doubt"!

Another great data point:

> The roll-out is still in its infancy, but after one music streaming service in the Middle East added the WhatsApp sharing button, its was surprised to find its users sharing 50% more songs via WhatsApp than Facebook.

The "one music streaming service in the Middle East" that apparently is so popular it doesn't need to be named! Of course, the above statement could also be true if the startup's users previously shared one song on Facebook and have shared 2 on Whatsapp, but who's counting?

You sound like you disagree with their conclusions? Or do you just not like the Guardian?

Either way, it would be more interesting to discuss your own opinions

I can't disagree with their conclusions because such specious evidence is used to back them up, cherry-picking non-sequiturs from various agencies and analysts to support a hypothesis that has been run into the ground since FB's IPO. Mostly, I'm just annoyed that an article with this theme has popped up again, even though it was discussed on HN just a couple days ago, and provides no real insight except: Yep, kids are trying things out. That's not a bad thing to ponder, but to ponder it in several different threads within the same weekend? Kind of annoying.

There is something that I don't see mentioned too often in articles: Teenagers don't just leave Facebook entirely, they just use it differently. So they'll check Facebook from time to time and possibly have an account, but do more and more interactions with messenger apps with their friends. So I see high school students using Facebook one way, because parents and grandparents are on it, and then using apps for the primary communication with friends. In that sense they aren't leaving as much as they are changing how they use it.

>When people set up events and get-togethers on Facebook, West and her boyfriend tend to reply on WhatsApp instead because...

This article actually mentions it. That's exactly what I've seen happen. Facebook is still used, but it is used differently.

Occasional use is also unprofitable use for FB.

Funny, I finally took the plunge too just the other day and I'm not a teen. Deleted everything, my whole account, every post, every photo, every tag, every poke, after I downloaded a copy of my stuff of course. But it was not easy task, oh no! They deliberately make it difficult to delete things! The only way is manually one by one, but its worth it. Finally FB free.

My reasons? Well it got really annoying how it turned into a Womans Magazine! Maybe I'm getting to that age when my friends are getting married and having kids, but I'm really not interested in posts of babies, Miley Cyrus BS, Royal Wedding nonsense etc... The list goes on and I only subscribed to reputable news sources like the Times, Guardian.

This sounds just like when I was a teenager, and everyone used AIM and ICQ.

I think the takeaway from ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger, Friendster, MySpace, etc is that as soon as you start losing users, then it's over and there's no winning users back. No matter how ubiquitous the service becomes in one's daily life.

Instagram / Tumblr / Bitstrips / Vine are indicative of a post-literate society.

Users are avoiding processing words or concepts without imagery. The length of the facebook post / tweet is decreasing, the content - or level of content are suffering.

I'm not sure i'd include Tumblr in that list: there's quite a bit of text on Tumblr. I would include Twitter, though, which has functioned as the axe-man in the death of literate discussion on the internet.

WhatsApp, iMessage, BBM, WeChat. They're all basically the same thing: Private messaging services. Simple. I think ultimately that's all people want to do as far as communication is concerned.

Not that any one service will win, but in order for any of them to do well, I think they need to do the following:

- Private messaging

- Group messages

- Images

- Free, or very very cheap (I don't think anybody has really tested the idea of charging a fee yet)

- Cross-platform - leaving out BBM and iMessage

- Some way of getting your address book from an existing address book

-- Web/desktop messaging. This isn't as important for the younger generation but for many others it is.

The only reason BBM and iMessage are or were popular was because they came pretty early and came with devices, but leaving friends out of conversations because they use a different platform from you is damaging, which is why WhatsApp became so popular, and why Facebook Messenger is so popular too.

> leaving friends out of conversations because they use a different platform from you is damaging, which is why WhatsApp became so popular

But WhatsApp is mobile-only, isn't it? That's why I don't use it. As you said:

> -- Web/desktop messaging. This isn't as important for the younger generation but for many others it is.

I would add "open protocols" to my requirements list, but I understand it's not something that the people in general care about.

The fact that GTalk--err--Hangouts and Facebook Messenger are standard XMPP means that I can use them _anywhere_ (with Pidgin on Linux, Xabber on Android, etc etc.) and I'm not tied to a client from a vendor.

Isn't BBM cross-platform now?

FYI: WhatsApp charged initially to cover their server costs.

They still charge $0.99/yr after the first year (which is free).

They keep saying I will be charge INR 55 from next year, everytime I install the app on a new phone. They never have in the last two years.

Really? I haven't been charged yet!

Some accounts got charged after a free year, some got charged after a "trial" of many years, others get "gifted" a lifetime free service.

I'm in the last group, but I know that people that had to pay for WhatsApp.

Okay I'm probably one of the few devs on HN that actually likes Facebook. It helps me communicate with my friends, parents, etc.

The only social network I like more than FB is Path.

Also, I do enjoy Facebooks "Messenger" app. I use it often.

The Messenger app is the only thing keeping me on Facebook. It's so great to be able to communicate with people in a layer more formal than text but less formal than email.

I always loved instant messaging and hated those social networks that you have to 'build yourself' there, like facebook nowadays or the old myspace.

I wanna hook up with ppl 'right now' and sustain only what really matters for me; I don't wanna 'look this is my weekend', 'love u grandma', 'dude likes that company', 'that rockband is awesome!'. Fuck.

In this sense I think twitter is genius. Feels like instant messaging and still people get to know you in a 'lighter' way than facebook, without that ego avalanche.

are teens really going to socialize on a platform their parents use? grandparents too! it would be like teens talking on the phone 30 years ago in the living room with all your family about. nope.

And we are back to MSN days, the mobile version though...

I had a Windows Mobile 5 device, and it had MSN, at least I could write to my buddies who are on computer via my mobile. I miss those days.

IM-to-AIM bridge on my dumbphone.

Facebook chat general.

You say that like its a bad thing...

Honestly I don't see where all these articles about 'teens leaving facebook' come from. I don't recognize the problem at all, I have 0 friends who are leaving facebook. Admitted: I'm in my early 20s and so are most of my friends. But except for whatsapp, messenger apps dont seem to be really popular here. Is this something that is specific to the US?

I'm in the US, here's what most of my friends are doing:

* saying "fuck it" to Facebook and using Instagram as their primary means of communication to "everyone" * using SnapChat or WhatsApp for other communication * people are actually starting to text.

When I look at my FB feed, I see the posts of 10-15 people max. I do check people's pages just to make sure FB is not fucking me over (and sometimes it is) but most of the time, people just drop off facebook. They're not "leaving" but they're not using it.

I keep seeing everyone say that people are communicating via Instagram. Can someone explain how that is possible? It sounds extremely inconvenient, since you can only post pictures and comment on said pictures.

I'm a full-time traveler these days and my wife and I have probably met around 10 couples (actual offline meetings) via Instagram.

Facebook is more for people you know. (Filled with babies and relatives.. etc) where Instagram has been great for finding like minded folks and following along with their lives in short snippets.

As for how to communicate, Instagram has user tagging. Even in others comments. Basically the same as sms messaging.

( My wife has more followers than me and I need to catch up: http://instagram.com/wandering_tim )

Well, it's that. Instead of posting a status, you post a picture.

So for instance, I have a friend who posted a picture of her new apartment. That spurred a discussion about it. Pretty simple :)

It's actually more convenient than facebook, at least I found it so. And I don't have to read anyone's stupid post about "I wish it'd stop" or "Never again" or "You're a bitch blah blah blah blah blah. You know who you are" -.-

In SN timeline you're a dinosaur.

Not really. The article mentions this: «"I only use WhatsApp to communicate and send pics these days," said Natalie West, a twentysomething financial sales associate in London.».

I knew I was no longer at the forefront of youth culture when I only joined snapchat a week before they were valued at 4 billion - and that I was one of the first amongst my friends.

The article seems to paint teenagers as Facebook's core and initial user base. But I distinctly remember it being college students. Facebook seems to be just as popular as it ever was with that crowd.

People may be getting misled by all the bullying stories and whatnot and forgot that.

How do I put this: teens aren't stupid, they know fb and others farm their data for profit with little consideration for privacy.

So what they do? the same I would: leave and move to a better solution. I did that all the time back in the day, but its not so easy today, why? because now professional life demands you be part of whatever is work-trendy right now, and that includes having an up-to-date profile on every damn social network out there that isn't considered lame (cough myspace)

It's bikeshedding to the max: did you build something truly innovative and significative? sorry brah it's not on my feed! and your klout score is really low, how can you be "in the know" if you barely tweet?

If Google is still serious about making a successful "social network" or whatever is the next evolution of that, then they should buy Whatsapp. I'd hate to see Facebook acquiring that one, too, like they did Instagram.

Whatsapp is not so useful unless you have internet access, correct? I purposely avoid a data plan on my phone, so I haven't downloaded it. But I've noticed more people asking me to use it to communicate with them.

I've been saying goodbye to Facebook too. Not because I've got a preferred alternative, but because it's deliberately engineered to suck you into it. In the short term, you spend more time on it. In the long term, you set up systems to avoid visiting such a time sink. I never feel good after spending time browsing Facebook.

I don't know what country you're from, but in most of Europe and the US (or anywhere infact!) why would you not have a data plan for your phone? It's quite difficult to find a phone plan without some form of data included, even PAYG, and the price difference is often negligible.

Fair enough if using a fashionably retro 'dumb' phone and not a smart phone, in which case you can't use WhatsApp anyway. If you are using a smart phone without a data connection, then why? Surely you're missing out on all of the benefits of owning a smart phone like maps and instant access to online information, free messaging (WhatsApp anyone?).

If you just don't want a data plan, you can still use WiFi which would likely cover you for 80% of the time (home and work).

> It's quite difficult to find a phone plan without some form of data included, even PAYG

Citation needed. Pay and go plans in the UK still charge data by the megabyte.

Orange and T-Mobile give you 1Gb of data when you top-up £10. Other carriers do similar things.

Yes but a lot of them come with 100 to 500MB free of data everytime you top-up

Which is great if you're topping up by £10+ every month (because the data allowance no doubt expires). If you're spending £10/month on credit, you may as well get a rolling contract and get minutes, texts and unlimited data (Giff Gaff -> £12)

I know plenty of people who aren't willing to pay that even though they use a smartphone (mostly on wifi)... and 20p/megabyte for occasional or accidental data use is just outrageous. Data prices are still a huge problem imo.

Have you checked out Three's 321 PAYG plan? If you're not using enough to justify a rolling plan, it looks like the best bet - 3p/min, 2p/text, 1p/mb. http://www.three.co.uk/Store/Pay_As_You_Go_Price_Plans

Yeah, I just don't want data, I don't want to be constantly connected. Never missed it.

Wi-fi covers me for most apps. I figured a messaging app might not be so useful if it didn't work at the precise moments I went out to meet people. Maybe that's not how it's used though.

You can still use WhatsApp without a data plan, almost everywhere there is WiFi. It may depend on your life style, but I spent a lot of time at my house, office or college, so my phone is connected most of the time without a data plan.

I've thought this for a while also - the big messaging apps like Whatsapp and Line and Kakao and WeChat are SO BIG and growing so fast already.

More reason to think they might "beat" Facebook is that a) many are already owned by Internet giants, i.e., have tons of resources to drive growth. WeChat is owned by Tencent/QQ and Line by South Korea's Naver. And b) they are Asia-centric where Facebook is weaker. Maybe these "international" players end up beating Facebook on its home turf.

Simple messaging apps will always be attractive. Look at WhatsApp. Too many features can also be a put off. Look where wave went. Simplicity wins, always!!!

I downvoted, because this is very short-sighted. IRC is simple. Blogs are simple. They had their time but they didn't win. They should have, though.

IRC is not simple for the average Joe. WhatsApp is. Not quite sure how blogs come into this. Have they had their time? They seem to be more popular (and simpler) than ever.

IRC is the opposite of simple for most consumers.

Somehow I'm still quite sceptical about this. No one actually has the statistics from Facebook's side to back this.

Stand-alone messaging apps are, according to the statistics, gaining traction but these two can go side by side with Facebook pretty easily. The only thing teenagers might be leaving according this article could be Facebook Messenger...

It makes perfect sense.

There is a finite amount of time. Facebook acquired most of the non-business social network space over the course of a particularly fast growing five or six years.

For apps like Snapchat to exist, with their huge user base and usage numbers, it must take time away from Facebook. The US market, as an example, is mostly tapped out on saturation when it comes to social media reach.

The posts that would have gone to Facebook in 2005 by college students, are no longer going to Facebook.

Who are Snapchat's users? The same users that typically adopt everything like this, the youngest consumers: teens and early 20 somethings.

It follows that Facebook has to be losing time share among young consumers to this phenomenon.

You are assuming that social network time is fixed.

It seems to me that the fundamental difference is the "timing" and duration of what you share online with your friends. Maybe it is more important what you want to share now and not so much save everything you share in the same place to be seen for eternity. Interesting times I would say :)

I think there is an opportunity for a startup to deliver a mobile messaging platform for developers to build apps on.

Parse.com would be ideal, but unfortunately is far too expensive for this use-case.

If this already exists, or someone would be interested in exploring this with me, let me know.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Kik Cards exactly what you're looking for?

why hasn't Kik taken off like the other group messaging platforms? Its always been the better application and it was the first of its kind.

I'm really not sure about the branding of it. You'd think it was a game or flashcards or something in that region.

Normals only care about what's now and what's very soon next. Facebook archives your online life drivel, but that has mostly zero value to normals. They just want their next giggle, and they have zero loyalty to your pseudo-corpornation.

Probably those apps archive everything as well, but they just don't show it to the users.

facebook has become, dare I say "ubiquitous", it's still the best way to keep in touch with friends regardless of how often you use them, I use my fb maybe once a week, but that one session allows me to catch up with what my friends have been up to. I think messenger apps, including fb messenger, are great when you're young and your social life is limited to only your clique, but I don't see them replacing fb or even becoming a massive threat to fb

About 90% of the population of Brazil uses messaging apps

I think you might wanna qualify that one a bit more.

90% of Brazil does everything. 90% uses Orkut. 90% produces electronic music. 90% lives on beaches. 90% lives in the rain forest. It's a big foreign place where we can paste any number we want on it.

BBY has a very good chance to become the FB of messenger if they can go through the storm.

Their time is up. Too late now. I downloaded BBM when it launched and its so far behind other services its laughable. The only way to add people was through inane PIN codes or email. Even the most basic messaging apps today have address book integration.

Such a waste of former market leadership

Afaik the idea of BBM pin codes is you can exchange contact information without giving out anything sensitive, formal, or prehistoric such as your email address, phone number, or your real name. It's a stroke of genius if you ask me, and I think it appeals to teenagers secretive nature.

Most teenagers probably don't want all their phone book imported magically in to their IM app either: 1) because they probably IM and Skype with more, and more varied, people than they text or phone, and 2) because their phone book probably includes their annoying aunties and relatives.

I also love the design of the BBM app (on Android). It's straightforward, single purpose and clean.

I don't know that you have any data on that second section, but it's still worth pointing out that a great majority of apps that import your contacts through a contact book allow you to pick and choose who you want. And there's no reason why PIN codes and contact imports can't co-exist. It's a pretty big oversight on BBM's part.

Perhaps, but I haven't missed it. I still think this isolation is a feature, not a bug.

BBY is the ticker symbol for Best Buy, so I assume you mean BBRY?

I've never used Blackberry Messenger. What makes you think it could be the "FB of messenger?"

No, it doesn't have any chance.

    WhatsApp  | 350 million monthly active users
    Viber     | 200 million registered users
    Line      | 280 million registered users
    KakaoTalk | 100 million users
    Skype     | 300 million connected users (663 million registered users in 2010)
    WeChat    | 400 million registered users (mostly in China)
    Tango     | 100 million registered users

Whatabout the IRC network(s)?

I always thought they were called messaging apps, not "messenger".

teenagers in wealthy, western countries will soon be a very small target group. western europe will shrink dramatically.

just read an article on how western society is becoming more and more aggressive towards kids due to people not being accustomed to them anymore. hotels, restaurants banning kids altogether.

Sorry for the shameless plug but, yesterday I've developed a simple app for the kik messenger platform called "Nearby".

It will show you a list with users sorted by distance, letting you know if the person is close to you or not. Here is a screenshot: http://imgur.com/88AIbgv

If anyone has kik installed and wants to try it, simply open http://nearby.pw on your phone and it will start in the kik messenger. It hasn't been fully optimized yet, so if you find any bugs please let me know.

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