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BlackBerry Messenger: What You Need to Know

How is BlackBerry Messenger different from other apps, and why is it so popular?


BBM Message Delivered

BBM Message Delivered

Research In Motion

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has become a runaway hit for RIM. It is a well-loved application in the BlackBerry community, and for many younger users has been embraced as a cost-effective replacement for text messaging.

BBM is a lot more than a simple instant messaging application, because it has some great business-friendly features. Since it is unique to the BlackBerry platform, it helps to foster a sense of community among BlackBerry users. If you are new to BBM, here are a few features that set BBM apart from text messaging and other instant messaging applications.

Message Status Indicators

BBM is popular among business users for several reasons. When you send a message to another BBM user, the application tells you if the message has been delivered (the letter D appears above the check mark), and also lets you know when the recipient has read the message (the letter R appears above the check mark). The business implications are obvious. You can hold people accountable when you have evidence that they have received and read your message. In emergencies and disaster situations, you will know that the recipient read your message even if they cannot reply immediately.


BBM has a Groups feature which not only allows you to invite other BBM users to join your groups, but also acts like a little team room for collaboration. In addition to participating in a group chat, members can upload pictures, make lists, and share calendar items. BBM also allows you to save chat logs, so you can refer to them after the conversation has ended.

Another feature unique to BBM is barcode scanning. Groups and individual BBM users have unique, scannable barcodes. If another BlackBerry user wants to add your group to BBM on their device, all they need to do is scan the group's barcode from your BlackBerry screen with their device. This is a really easy way to share a list of group members, and it is a lot quicker than adding people individually.

Broadcast Messages

Broadcast Messages are a very easy way to spread important information to multiple BBM users. When you select New Broadcast Message you are given the option to send a message to all of the contacts in a category, or you can select individual contacts you want to send a message to. This would be particularly useful to announce school or office closings when there is inclement weather, or to disseminate any important information quickly.

There is a lot more to BBM than just these few features, but these are some of the things that set BBM apart from comparable applications. The interface is clean and simple, it is well integrated into the BlackBerry operating systems, and it is a great tool for communicating with groups or making announcements to your friends and colleagues.

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