BBM Channel Chat vs. Twitter

Another CrackBerry Kevin BBM Channel Chat Diary Entry....
BBM Channel Chat
By Kevin Michaluk on 4 Jun 2014 11:45 pm EDT

I'm starting to become a pro at BBM Channel Chats! I have now completed four regularly-scheduled BBM Channel Chats. My Channel Chat is set to turn on automatically every Monday and Wednesday at 1:30pm ET / 6:30pm GMT for thirty minutes. Last week I reminded people that the chats were going to take place, which made for a BIG turnout each session and made things CRAZY for me to manage (read my reactions to Chat session #1 and #2).

This week I didn't remind people that the BBM Channel chat was going to take place. I wanted to see how the turnout would differ. As I expected, it was much quieter — around 20 participants on Monday and ten today — which made it much more manageable from my end. I could actually chat with people vs. just say hello and goodbye as I bounced around conversations. Last week I had way more people participating, which pretty much made it into a BBM Stress Test. It was basically impossible to keep up while jumping back and forth between so many individual chats.

For the people who expressed they were bummed out that they missed the chat, it made me realize the BBM team should build in a push notification for chat sessions. So as a subscriber to a BBM Channel, you could opt in to be notified when the Channel owner turns Chat on (or even add scheduled ones to your calendar). Seems like a no brainer to add that functionality in —unless it's there already and I'm just somehow not seeing it?!

Still a lot of confusion over what a BBM Channel Chat is

After this week's Channel Chats, it's becoming really apparent to me that the BBM team has some work to do in making BBM Channel Chats make sense to users. Every other person I chat with is sort of shocked at first to realize they're having a one-on-one chat with me. Everybody has the impression that it's going to be some sort of a group chat, or live-blog with commentary sort of thing (where they'll see all of my chats and other peoples responses in a flow).

In reality, it's really just like a normal BBM chat you'd have with your existing contacts, except in this case you're having it with a person who doesn't have you on their contact list, and the functionality has been stripped down. You can chat, but you can't do the things you can with a regular contact, like send photos or use stickers or send voice notes, etc.

BBM Channel Chat vs. Twitter

A few people I chatted with in the last two weeks, when realizing that BBM Channel Chat was a 1:1 chat vs. a group thing, asked me how this was different than just chatting with me via twitter

Reflecting on this, I did a little test tonight to compare conducting a Channel Chat with a lot of participants (as I encountered last week) vs. using twitter to engage with a bunch of followers at once (essentially creating a twitter equivalent of a Channel Chat). With a Channel Chat, the user (not the Channel owner) initiates the conversation with the Channel owner. The chats can be about anything the user wants to ask (which is cool). And ultimately, the chat session can come to an end, which is good for the Channel owner. When it comes to social services like twitter and you start talking to a lot of people at once, there's no end - you could continue the conversations around the clock 24 / 7 / 365 if you wanted to.

For my twitter test tonight, I sent out a tweet that I knew would get a lot of responses immediately:

And get a lot of responses it did receive. With twitter, unlike BBM Channels, everybody can see the train of responses. Check out THIS TWITTER THREAD for the stream of replies and replies to replies that followed (and are still happening even as I write this).

In this case, me as the twitter equivalent to the BBM Channel Owner set the tone for the conversation. In other words, I asked my followers a question. And because I initiated the question, I then stuck around to answer all of the replies that followed (to me it was the same commitment as scheduling a 30 minute BBM Channel Chat). Using TweetDeck on my desktop computer actually made it very easy to manage the incoming stream of replies, vs. a BBM Channel Chat where I need to jump in and out of each conversation with each contact to keep it going.

Of course, on twitter, there are no hours. You can tweet at me anytime you want. I may reply, or I may not (I try and do my best but am not a hyper-twitter user). With a BBM Channel Chat, you only have access when I allow it - which means the chance of response is high.

Do you feel the intimacy?!

One of the marketing messages behind BBM Channel Chats is that it allows for channel owners to engage in intimate conversations with their fans. What I'm curious about is if as a participant in a BBM Channel Chat, are you feeling this intimacy is above and beyond what you would experience on a different social service like twitter or G+? Does the fact that there are set hours and a high expectation of getting a response make it more compelling than just pinging me anytime on a service like twitter and maybe getting a response?

Be sure to let me know in the comments. I'm finding the concept of BBM Channel Chats to be really interesting, hence the slightly chaotic and disjointed articles following my Chats. Think of them as my BBM Channel Diary. I'm sure there will be more of these posts as I continue to conduct my regular chats and observe and ponder! :)

Join me for a BBM Channel Chat!

If you're not already subscribed to my channel, you can search for CrackBerry Kevin in BBM channels and find it that way, or add C00010BC5 or scan the barcode below. And if you're reading this and have yet to use BBM Channels, be sure to check out our guide on How To Use BBM Channels.

NOTE: Next week I'm going to be on a plane ride during my regularly-scheduled Monday chat, so that one will be cancelled.

Reader comments

BBM Channel Chat vs. Twitter


Errr... apologies on the slightly disjointed nature of this one... just finished 30 minutes of non-stop tweeting before writing this, so wanted to pump it out while Channel and Twitter thoughts were fresh in my head... almost reads like it was my first editorial. :)

More of a diary entry than an article. :p

Kevin, can you choose how many people you can talk to at once? For example, if you only want to talk with 5 people at a time instead of everyone at once.

They should also have a video chat for BBM channels. Have it for one on one video chat or multiple video chat like Google +. Thus feature would be great especially if BBM comes out on the desktop.

Posted via CB10


Swiped via CB10 with my T-Mobile USA (Only T-Mo rep still pushing  ) new  BlackBerry Z30 (STA100-5), son! The Thor's Hammer of phones! Member of "Club Z30 "..... the most exclusive club in mobile. Once you go BlackBerry, everything else is wack-berry! #longestsignatureeverthatishortenedabit

Would be great for the BBM team to share their vision for the ideal use case for the channel chat.

Q10SQN100-1/ CB10'n

Yes. Would love that. BBM Channels / Channel Chats is really good, but it's still sort of hard to grasp / explain. That perfect elevator "pitch" of why you need it isn't crystal clear.

I think it's great for storefront, add in voice chat and it could really turn into a strong business tool I think...

Classifieds Canada and GeoYeo App all the way!!!

This is probably still uncharted territory, with a LOT of untapped potential and possibilities...

See what the future brings. These chat sessions certainly will help shape the future if anyone of the BBM team reads this, and I'm sure they do...

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

I meant to make this chat and got stuck in a meeting... I'll be on next week!

From the mind of a mAnIaC

Honestly Kevin that article was very on target for; I just got more active in BBM Channels again and I really want to see BBM gain more users. I don't twitter or facebook but I do like channels. BlackBerry needs to get video call to ios and Android asap and market it!

Great review (rant lol) CB Kevin!

 BlackBerry Q10  Keep The Faith 

We need an easy access to the channel/link to the home instead of tapping the BBM icon and so on just to get to my subscribed channel.

Should be able to hyperlink the BBM channel OR click the QR code for natural quick access... cuz I think it's odd the fire up the pc just to take a QR code pic.

Posted via CB10

Oh! I wish I'd thought of that before trying to bend my Berry around to take a picture of its own screen. That last twist might have voided the warranty. :P

Posted from the bottom half of my Z10 / my brand new, custom Z5

Get a second one, lol. Z10 and Z3 are cheap (if you can get your hands on one!)....

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

Make sure you keep doing this into the summer! I'd love to participate, but I'm in class for now at your scheduled times and wouldn't want to have a disjointed conversation

Posted via CB10

Will do. It's fun. Also, it's handy for me. I often get busy and forget to eat lunch. Soooo... this way I know I'm going to be BBM'ing, it reminds me to get some food ready for my BBM Channel break... and I chew as I type :)

Nice article/diary entry, Kevin. We all are still doing R&D on BBM Channels in real life. BBM Channels is legit, but in it's infancy, and is taking some time for those not too familiar to wrap their heads around. I have several channels, but I'm not sure how well spreading the word for BBM Channels to those are not on BlackBerry has been received. Twitter is becoming, or has become, institutionalized as official voice for both people and business. We have a nice twitter following but getting them to join our BBM Channel has not had the best results. I think people don't know much about BBM Channels and how it benefits both business and the people who follow their channel. I hope that BBM Channels gets more appeal as it is well put together to interact for businesses, and a direct medium for individuals to interact directly with Channel Owners. I feel as there is something more that needs to be done to help explain to others exactly how BBM Channels operate.... like more marketing of the BBM Channel genius and how it fits in daily life.

By the way, BlackBerry needs a method, like Twitter or Facebook, were one can join a Channel via a click of a button or a link. Scanning or entering the C pin address of the channel can be tedious for some and uncommon to those who are new to BBM.

BlackBerry since RIM 850 -- Now I got smartphones like Scrabble -- Q10, Z10 Also rocking a legacy BlackBerry Bold 9900 + Playbook 64GB (Plus, Somewhere stashed is the infamous Storm2). BB for Life!

Great question on twitter. I love the few that answer by saying all. BlackBerry z30, iPhone 5s, Samsung s5, HTC eta. The best of each world.

Adam or Bla1ze should fill in for you on Monday.

Posted via CB10

I don't think they can... My channel is tied to my phone. And the web console only works for making posts to the channel, not running chats.

I liked the fact that I could have a one on one conversation with you in the channel. It gives us the opportunity to talk to you with out having to sort through all of the other conversations. I think that there are plenty of mediums available to broadcast a question and get a mass response like blogs and twitter. This works well to have an opportunity to have a personal chat with a high profile person like yourself. As long as you can manage the demand I think this works well as a channel chat.

Posted via CB10

I like BBM channels because it's private, so snoopy relatives/friends can't see what your commenting on.


I had a great channel experience recently. I was looking for a part and happen to search some useful keywords in bbm to connect me with a local supplier's channel. The chat was available so we could have a short one-on-one and private discussion so I could get estimates and give details without having to worry about it being public and the vendor could reach a new customer. Now their channel keeps me updated and I know who to go to when making my next purchase.

Worked great but relied on me being familiar with channels and being able to find them with a search.

Posted via CB10

I see a lot of potential for business in channels, I hope channels may escalate into a kind of call center, maybe even escalating from chat to voice.

Posted via CB10

Hi. Would like to know in Malaysia, what time is the channel chat with u.... thanx u very much

Posted via CB10

Clock app, world view. Just enter Toronto/NYC time zone (that was 1.30 ET or 6.30pm London time /GMT, right?), and you've got the difference.

Or, the lazy way, wait for 6.30pm to show up for London or 1.30 for NYC, and you've got your reading for Malaysia....

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

In the case how Kevin is using chats, I can see a person who is always sought out for info to gravitate towards this format. It gives that person alot of control that a group format wouldn't. Personally I have alarms set for the chat times cause I'm on the move with my job. Sometimes I have time for a back and forth convo. Other times I may just say hi and shoot out one question. I'm grateful for the opportunity to pick Kevins brain. One thing that BlackBerry needs for Channels as a whole is some big unsolicited celebrity backings. Kinda like when celebrities really started using Twitter. Before it was mainly a bunch of geeks communicating back and forth. BlackBerry needs the right personalities to really put it on the map with pop culture.

Posted via Z30

In my opinion it is just a matter of how to make good marketing. The "product" îs The Best on the market but it's not visible enough. Just like the blackberry smartphones(and now i'm speaking about Europe market)
The bests products,in my opinion, but not visible for the worldwide

Posted via CB10

Sometimes it can be very overwhelming and all, sometimes totally fun too, I gotta be on time to get on with the chat. :)

Posted via CrackBerry 10 (CB10) application using my BlackBerry Q10.

We already have a sort of group chat when commenting on a BBMC post... I think it would have been redundant if chat was made like that as well...

Set animated wallpapers on BB10, download Clear Wall for free

What about a group chat on your channel? Then everyone would be in one conversation, unless I missed your point and you want everyone individually.

Posted via CB10

Emoticons and stickers are fun but won't boost usage of bbm and BlackBerry. Please back to priorities ie video chat to challenge poor skype app desktop version and clever usage of channels to promote BlackBerry pluses over ios and Android

Posted via CB10

Well, bbm gives that privacy i want so..other subscribers don't see the chat but twitter is so open, the comparison should have been twitter dms and bbm channel the channel owner, when you post something everyone can comment and the channel owner can reply the comments, just like twitter everyone replies..

Perhaps use channel post as a channel chat. Post on your regularly scheduled times and use the feed comments as the chat... just a thought. it would give you the twitter side of things. Best of both worlds :)

C0007CCC8 PING BlackBerry info Channel

Kevin, you mentioned you were going on a plane ride after this....



I used a thirty minute free WIFI session on AA to use bbm...... MAN WAS IT CRAZY, I HAD THREE 5 MINUTE BBM CALLS ON A PLANE AT 38000 FEET.

What a blast. Lol

Why not have a channel chat at 30000ft?

Lol well I hope it has WIFI anyway.

Posted via CB10


It's not really convenient to host your chats during work hours for the majority of people IMO.

BBM Channels in general leave a lot to be desired. Liking a post is difficult: 1) the icon is much too small 2) if you miss, it opens the post w/comments which is a time waster 3) you can't double-tap to like (as in instagram). I'm also not a fan of the commenting system: 1) newest at top encourages spam comments 2) comments can't be threaded (only one reply down).

I don't have any groups setup in BBM, so I'd love to be able to get rid of Groups from the bottom 3 icons (Chats, Updates, Groups) and replace it with Channels. Also, I almost never view Updates either, so that's 2 out of 3 wasted space for me.

This has actually convinced me to revive a BBM Channel I started but was not worth the upkeep at least for one night. We have a Hangouts podcast coming up which we'll be taking questions for on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. I'm now going to add live chat from the Channel to the list of ways people can submit questions.

I see the Chat times as Store Hours. My Channel is for support on my apps. So the chat times are for when it is okay for people to chat with me. The times my "Support Store" is open.

While notification would be nice, I would assume it would notify my subscribers every day, which might get annoying to them. But, I guess they could opt out of the notifications.

Posted from my Z30 using CB10

Hello kevin. Saya pengguna baru z10. Bagi saya bbm channel masih belum efektif diperuntukkan orang awan. Pengalaman saya mencoba menundang rekan bbm saya untuk masuk di channel saya, dan rekan saya (android version bbm) tidak dapat melihat undangan bbm chanel yang telah saya kirim ke dia. Kendala lain adalah beberapa kali saya mengalami gagal mengunggah foto di channel saya.

Demikian pengalaman singkat saya setelah kuranglebih sebulan mencoba bbm channel, meski tidak secara intens.

Mohon maaf atas keterbatasan bahasa.

Salam dari Indonesia

I operate a channel called Channel Battle C00284CDE I rely heavily on Channel chat to communicate and network with other channel owners. The private one on one aspect is what makes it work from a networking perspective. It isn't so much about "fan chat" for me.

Posted Via CB10 via Z10 via BB10

Would be nice if channels had options when opening a chat. 1:1 or group such as a news group. I'm part of a local Audi news group on Yahoo and we're looking to leave yahoo for something else. Channels would be my preference, but options need to be baked in (or maybe they are and I just don't know how to use it yet). I'm thinking channels can incorporate a group chat option when opening up the window. This would allow multiple groups chats as well as multiple 1:1 chats. And of course the main comments would also always be available as permanent where the group and 1:1 chats would go away when you closes the window or ended the chat.

A slow climb to the top is always more rewarding. Sent using my BlackBerry Z10.

It will be a great tool of communication if it adopts to the basic needs of individuals and groups, in a mass audio and video communication like Paltalk and Camfrog.

Skype started as an audio and video live chatting rooms. So, I do hope that Blackberry will take lessons from existing Audio and Video Chats in room made specific-lay for any subjects.

Don't believe that channel chat is designed for celebrity chats :-) It is a useful mode of communication when subscribers want to relay an opinion or enquiry about the channel. On my channel I get suggestions about promoting specific channels daily. I don't always reply but get the message.

ChannelX C000D3759 We promote channels

I really need your help. My Q10 keeps re-booting itself regularly and very slow in multitasking. I checked my system upgrade and it says I have the latest OS Please send a link for upgrade.Thanks

Posted via CB10

BBM Channels is awesome, I have about 30 BBM contacts but if you include all my BBM Channels Chats that I have consistently going on but who do not want to be my BBM contacts, it's over 60 contacts

Z30 : posted via CB10 app

Damn... I so want to join but I am at work.

I don't get paid to be on bbm channels, some days I wonder why not considering how great of a tool it is :)

Powered by BB

At some point I would like someone to post a spreadsheet that shows comparison between all social media, including. BBM.

Some of us don't use many, so it would be nice to see how BBM/Channels really compare.

The killer feature of twitter versus BBM Channels is desktop compatibility. Unless BBM goes desktop I don't think Channels has a chance at widespread use. And that's sad.... just like BlackBerry's plan to monetize it's consumer services with...STICKERS.

The better course would be to monetize BBM by adding premium security features. Sorry, off topic.

Posted via CB10

I've been using BBM Channels Chat since the feature became available. I talk to several owners of the channels I subscribe to. Pretty neat. I can get direct information or send some their way. Some have their Chat feature turned off, some only open at certain times and some have them open 24/7...

The difference between Twitter and BBM is as follows. Twitter is the biggest repository of human stupidity (together with Facebook) and BBM is the biggest repository of marriage requests and proposals, as well as solutions on how to make money working from home...

Cartman says: Screw you guys I'm going home!