Group messaging was not as useful as we thought it would be this year at SXSW. Whether you were using Beluga, GroupMe, Kik, Yobongo or Fast Society or others, everyone had high hopes for a breakout group messaging app, simply because we spoiled tech brats are already bored with the ones we already have.
I know it’s old school, but towards the tail end of the conference simple SMS won out (for me at least). SXSW isn’t about hanging out with the same groups of people all the time, but rather about having variety of exclusive options. In practice group messaging is kind of weak on the exclusivity thing, because you’re almost always roped into groups with at least one person you don’t like, which prevents you from sharing potentially useful information regarding your whereabouts.
While my co-worker MG doesn’t seem to think there is any clear SXSW winner, if you had to pick a frontrunner among the group messaging apps, in my opinion, it would be good ole’ GroupMe, if only because it seemed like the app most people used (unless you count Instagram as a group messaging app).
The data above (provided above by the folks at Pop Agency) agrees with me, in infographic form — tracking how much each app was mentioned on Twitter and sentiment analysis from March 11th through March 15th. The graphic provides a helpful features checklist for the contenders along with proclaiming the SXSW group messaging Winner, Second Place and Best In Show.
And yes, this graphic does beg the question, “If we’re judging the winners by Twitter mentions, doesn’t that mean Twitter actually won?” Well, welcome to tech.