Instant Messaging Apps
How the world is connected together
You’ve probably wondered if you should switch over from WhatsApp to Telegram, or thought that you want to try out Signal, or even asked yourself what people in other countries use instead of your traditional apps. All of these applications that allow you to instantly send messages over the internet in real time are known under the term instant messaging apps.
So, what is this technology? In a nutshell, instant messaging apps are those that help to communicate with people all around the world, by providing a way to send messages, audio, documents, images and make phone and video calls using an internet connection. It’s a quite simple definition that most people are familiar with, because most of them have at least one messaging app installed on their phone.
This is only natural given that we as humans have the necessity of communication. We fulfill this in many ways in our daily lives, going shopping, visiting a neighbor or family, or even going to a medical appointment. However, not everyone can have physical communication with others, due to lack of time, work, or even just laziness. The pandemic has shown how important it is to have communication methods that don’t depend on being actually close to each other. As people can’t go out and reunite as freely as before, social media and other online communication methods have become essential tools in daily life.
Instant messaging apps come in various forms. You can have apps that focus primarily on messaging and calling services, like WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal or Viber – to name a few. Some platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have instant message features, while being primarily focused on content sharing. These apps allow you to keep in touch with loved ones, no matter what country you are in, by just connecting online.
Most of these platforms have additional features to keep the user engaged. Telegram for example counts with a great deal of customizability, as well as easy-to-find groups and games. WhatsApp allows businesses to create specialized profiles that include catalogs for their potential buyers to see.
Amongst all the instant messaging apps, WhatsApp is currently the most used one all over the world. With over 2 billion users in February 2020, over one fourth of the global population has WhatsApp! Coming close are Telegram with 1 billion downloads in 2021, Facebook Messenger with over 1.3 billion monthly users and Viber with more than 1 billion users. Signal, with 40 million active users, has seen incredible growth in some parts of the population in the last two years. These amazing numbers show that instant messaging apps are commonplace and used everyday.
But, where did all these apps come from? Well, you don’t have to go far to find the answer. After all, communications using computers is a new and ever evolving technology. In 1971 a computer program that allowed the first email message to be sent across the first internet network was made. After this milestone, progress kept coming fast. However, instant messaging apps definitely took off during the 2010s, when mobile phones started becoming commonplace. By that time, technologies that allowed real time communication and video calls over the internet were already well known.
During the last decade, messaging services have improved a lot. Thanks to a fierce competition over the market share, there are plenty of messaging apps and social media platforms around today.
Now that you know what a messaging app is, it’s time to know why you should use them, or keep using them if you already do. Besides, by getting a way for communicating, you also get a lot of flexibility. Not only do you have a lot of options, as described before, but most of these applications vary wildly in their features. Do you want the biggest user base? Use WhatsApp. Do you want games and customizability? You can use Telegram. Do you want to use social media while you communicate? Facebook or Instagram. If you prefer to keep your privacy, you can check out Signal.
Instant messaging apps are, as their name says it, instant. You can send or read a message whenever you want (as long as you have a working internet connection). They are also easy to access and are mostly free. Using apps to send your texts is also way faster and easier than going to a place to talk with someone.
Now, it’s time to talk about the negatives. Having a social profile can have some disadvantages, with privacy and mental health being the main ones. Multiple studies show that there’s a correlation between heavy social media use and risk of suffering depression, anxiety and loneliness. It’s common to see people spending their entire day or a significant portion of it browsing social media. Unhealthy comparisons with others in social media can lead to inadequacy or unhappiness about one’s life, appearance and even personality.
On the topic of privacy, most apps use VoIP. Short for Voice over Internet Protocol, this is a technology that allows making phone calls using the internet to transmit audio. To use the VoIP protocol, you have to provide a phone number. In some cases, this number can be displayed on the platform and seen by many people, including people you don’t know. You may be wary of having your personal data displayed on the internet. You could become a victim or target of scammers and fraudsters. Although not all apps do this, there’s still the risk of not so trustworthy companies accessing your private information and using it as they please. And not only does this include your number, but also your contacts, how much time you spend on the platform, and the different media and documents you upload.
The best thing to do in those cases where you want or need a messaging app without risking your private info is to get a virtual number. These numbers are not attached to a specific location and telephone line, so using them can help to ensure the safety and protection of your real phone number.
To get one, you’ll need to purchase it through a reliable and trustworthy provider like us, Major Phones. We offer both short and long-term numbers that adapt to your necessities, helping you to keep your phone number private.