And can you explain it to them in 45 seconds or less?!
My financée is currently living in Paris, getting her MBA. At the moment, she's deep in thought trying to figure out her thesis topic. It's a critical thing for her to get right for a couple reasons: one, because it's 40% of her final grade; and two, because she's going to spend a ton of time working on it over the next nine months so she better choose the subject carefully and make sure it's one that she likes.
One of the tips her professor gave her was to make sure her thesis topic is refined enough that it passes the "elevator pitch" test. In other words, while riding up an elevator from the main floor to fourth floor with another person, she should be able to concisely relay the thesis idea before the elevator stops. 45 seconds, there or about. It's a necessity to thesis planning. It helps keep all the research and work to be done focused, and when it comes time to present and be graded it on it, there's a clear expectation set.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it got me thinking about BBM Channels, and specifically my concern that it doesn't yet pass the "elevator pitch" test. As I wrote recently, I'm getting really excited for BBM Channels, and I **want** to tell people about it. Yet, I'm having this issue that when I try and tell others about the awesomeness that is BBM Channels, I can never cleanly and concisely tell them what is in 45 seconds or less. It's a confusing thing to talk about.
I waffle a bit, and lean on comparisons to other existing social networks to try and get across what it's all about. "It's kind of like Instagram, where you can post a photo or video to your followers, but you can also choose to not post a photo. And hash tags and @usernames don't really matter." It's not super clear, so then I switch to, "Well, it's more like a micro blogging tool — kinda like Tumblr — but it's mobile-only and you have to subscribe to a channel before you can read it, and it's built into the BBM app so you see new posts mixed in with your friends status updates." Then, I don't want to leave out any of the really cool features, so I mention that I can see the stats on posts I make via BBM Channels, and open up one to one conversations with my followers, and even ban problem commenters if there are any.
By this time I see the glossy look in the eyes of the person I'm explaining BBM Channels too, so I remember to switch tactics and then I just SHOW them on my phone what BBM Channels is. After a couple minutes of this, it usually seems to click. And then they get what BBM Channels is about. And most people I show BBM Channels too, like me, get excited for it after they see it. But when I'm simply telling them about it, they're confused as all hell. And heck, sometimes so am I.
Going to BlackBerry's BBM Channel page, I'm not sure it does any better job. If you had never heard or seen BBM Channels before, would you read the following and know exactly what it's about — and more importantly — why you'd want to start using it?
As it stands, I can't help but feel that BBM Channels has to solve this "elevator pitch" problem before it makes its way onto iOS and Android, which is coming soon. BBM Channels shows well, but people need to be able to talk about it just as well too and clearly understand the premise and how it's unique among the existing social networks out there.
Which brings me to...
I'm really curious to hear your take on BBM Channels. How do you describe it to your friends, family, colleagues when it comes up in conversation? What's your elevator pitch? Leave it in the comments. I'll be reading through them. And if somebody comes up with a great, concise and repeatable "pitch", I'll be sure to repost it here on CrackBerry with a dedicated post and sing your praises. Thanks!