Last week Twitter Ventures, Twitter’s investment arm, made a $70 million investment in music site SoundCloud. This isn’t the first investment made by Twitter Ventures in SoundCloud. According to an unnamed spokesperson for SoundCloud, quoted in the San Francisco Business Times, “Both companies facilitate and inspire contemporary culture to happen in real time.”
For most people, that “real time” is happening on messaging apps on our mobile devices. Messaging apps now far outpace social networks as a source of real time news and conversation. According to Business Insider, the number of monthly users on the top four messaging apps dwarfs the same metric for the top four social networks. For many users, the messaging app IS the new social network.
Apps like WhatsApp, Slack, and GroupMe have found their way into the enterprise for real time communication and sharing between teams. Documents can be easily shared, conversations recorded, videos of meeting shared, calls can be made, all in a messaging stream.
Bots and apps that integrate with messaging platforms allow individuals to interact with companies. Now you can book a flight, rent a car, call an Uber, purchase movie tickets all from Facebook Messenger or another messaging app.
For the meetings industry, messaging itself through mobile devices and applications is no longer as simple as typing text. It’s about sharing sessions, arranging meetings, listening to voice mail and sharing slide decks, all in one place. Everything in one place, searchable and sharable. If a colleague misses a session, you can record it and message her not a link to the audio but the audio itself. You can share slides from a presentation visually, not as a file icon, with the home office. Bots can automate interaction with organizers to address simple tasks like changing appointments or finding a booth.
All of this is available now.
Look over the shoulder of any millennial and you see SnapChat stories including more audio, images, and video content than text. Call an Uber from Facebook Messenger. That’s just the beginning. Twitter has made several changes this year including relaxing the 140 character limit and allowing live streaming video. With their investment in SoundCloud, Twitter is hedging its bets on the future and the inclusion of other media beyond text and images.
For more thoughts on the present and future of messaging, read Uber’s Chris Messina’s article on what he calls conversational commerce. Elad Natanson discusses bots and where messaging is going in Forbes. Chris and Elad both see messaging apps growing beyond just messaging and becoming platforms, even operating systems, for mobile commerce.
Featured Image credit: Jan Persiel ©2013 under a Creative Commons License
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