Urban students seek messaging apps based on popularity

Diego Lopez, Staff Writer

Texting is a prominent part of culture at Urban in addition to many alternative forms of communication. While in school, it is hard to communicate through text messages because cell service is unreliable at best. Spencer Ghobadian (‘18) and Ben Lee (‘17) use iMessage, Facebook messenger or other services to stay connected instead of cell service, signaling that Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Snapchat, Skype, and Facetime are all alternative forms of communication used regularly in the Urban community. These all provide similar services but have different features and drawbacks.

One popular application is Snapchat, where you can easily send photos with captions to friends. Something people look for in an app used for communication is its popularity among their friends. Ghobadian (‘18) says he downloaded and uses Snapchat because all of his friends use it, and it is very easy to send photos with.

People are very quick to switch messaging applications because, according to Ghobadian, “If everyone [starts] switching over to a new messaging system… other ones become obsolete.” Ghobadian also explained that people like to use applications that their friends are on because otherwise the app would be useless. If no one uses a messaging application, you won’t have anyone to message with.

In the modern age of the smartphone, it is easy to stay connected with people through these services because, as Lee (‘17) says, “People are constantly on Facebook, checking their Snapchat, their Twitter … [Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter] is a really quick way to get in contact with someone.” Staying connected consistently is the biggest concern for Urban students as expressed by Lee and Ghobadian. People use different apps to stay connected depending on who is using them. Lee gives the reason, “people are always on Facebook” for why he uses Facebook Messenger, while Ghobadian says he stopped using Facebook Messenger because it was easier to text them from his cell phone than to use Facebook Messenger.

When people use their phones to stay connected, they base their application choice on what is most popular amongst their friends. This need to stay connected drives the use of different messaging applications.