BBM, Google plus, and the myth of exclusivity

I got into an argument with a friend over my decision to go with android instead of a blackberry phone. I asked her, "what makes your blackberry better than my phone?". Her answer surprised me.

"with blackberry, I can access my work emails on my phone, surf the internet, chat with my friends on ym, aim, msn and even twitter and facebook. And if you like touch screens, theres the the blackberry torch. And by the way, you need a blackberry to be on bbm".

That last smug statement seemed to be her trump card- so much so that it blinded her from the fact that accessing emails and instant messengers is not unique to the blackberry system. The only thing that really mattered to her was her ability to be on bbm.

So what exactly is bbm and why is it considered a great enough asset to trump the other systems? Simply put, bbm is an isntant messaging system that, unlike AIM or YM, is only available to blackberry users. Get this phone so you can access an instant messaging network that only a select few can join. In other words, to my friend, the appeal of blackberry is not in its utility but rather in the implied exclusivity that comes with it. A facebook post becomes more special if it has "via facebook for blackberry" added at the end.

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I have been using google+ for a few days now and must admit, i still dont see the point of maintaining yet another social network account.

When I got that invite, I asked myself "didnt google already try and fail at having their own social network? (google buzz and orkut anyone?) and then when i posted that i was already in the program, i got a barrage of requests from people asking for me to send then an invite. Strangers were asking me if i could invite them to this bare bones social network where the only thing I can think of doing is cross posting my status messages from facebook.

What, I wondered, could be the difference between google plus and google buzz? That people hated one before and are now clamoring to get into the other confused me.

And then I realized it. When google buzz was launched, all gmail users were automatically given accounts. Contrast that with google plus' supposed "by invitation only" membership and you would understand the appeal. Nevermind the fact that once you are in, you can send an unlimited number of invites.

It seems our desire to own something others cant have, to be part of something other could not be part of, is still very much a driving force of society and marketing strategy.

PS everyone and their dog already has an invite to google plus but if for some freak coincidence you were left out of the party, send me a message and I'll hook you up with an invite. :)

Parting thought: i tweeted how harry potter's ending also signified the end of my childhood. I apologize. I forgot i was already a grown man in my mid 20's.


3 comments:

dukesa said...

Dropped by :)

I didn't know Google has their own Social Network. I've heard of Google Buzz though.

Mitch said...

BBM to me is big black male.
I am never fond of exclusivity hence i am on an endless search for apps that will get this iphone to communicate with other phone devices specially for sharing pictures etcetera.
Not all gmail account holders got an invite to Google+. i don't mind. I do not want to maintain a facebook/twitter wannabe. Google should just focus on their strength as a search engine. Nobody says, "i don't know what that is, let me yahoo it." Likewise, it is awkward to ask about your Goohle status (only 'feeling lucky today' comes to mind) instead of FB or twitter status.

cabagona said...

Update: Guess who just got a Blackberry. XD