10 reasons to ditch SMS for over-the-top messaging apps

Texting has been around for ages. More than 20 years, in fact. And it’s still one of the main ways we interact with people via smartphone, because it’s just so darn easy (although some of us need to brush up on our texting etiquette).

But texting isn’t necessarily the best way to interact with people via smartphone. And no, I’m not talking about calling people (that would be absurd). I’m talking about over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps like Line, WhatsApp, and even online chatting apps like Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger.

Here’s why you need to ditch texting and download an OTT app ASAP.

I was definitely an early-adopter when it came to OTT messaging apps; not because I’m cool and hip to the trends, but because about 95 percent of my friends live overseas. Unlike texting, OTT messaging apps do not discriminate based on where you live, because they work over an Internet connection and not the SMS network. Do you have any idea how much it costs to send a text from the U.S. to Japan I don’t, because I just use Line and it’s free.

OTT messaging apps use any Internet connection, which means they don’t need to be connected to a cellular network to work. As long as you can grab some free Wi-Fi, you’re set! If there’s no Wi-Fi, you might be in trouble, though.

I miss approximately 80 percent of the text messages that come to my phone. The reason I usually don’t have my phone on me, especially not when I’m working at my computer. I get all my Line messages, though, because there’s a Line app for my PC!

OTT messaging apps let you add contacts in a variety of ways—usernames, email addresses, or phone numbers—so they’re perfect for when you want to talk to someone but you don’t really want to give up your digits.

There’s often no way to check if someone has read a text message. But most OTT messaging apps have some sort of read receipt feature that lets you know when someone has seen your message. It's a little creepy, but totally useful.

Okay, so you can customize texting apps to a certain extent. But a few pretty colors and fonts are nothing compared to this adorable Pokemon Line theme.

Sign into an OTT messaging app on a new device and voila! Everything, including your contacts, chat history, and even photos and files you’ve traded back and forth, is already there for you.

Remember how OTT messaging apps let you text people (for free!) without knowing their phone number Well they also let you call people (for free!) without knowing their phone number.

Stickers are like emoticons on steroids. These cute drawings let you express your feelings in ways you never even imagined. That sounds a little dramatic, but trust me on this: once you discover the power of stickers, you will never be able to go back to your boring sticker-less texts.

These days, the only texts I get are from Amazon.com, Craigslist, and my mother (who refuses to use an OTT messaging app because it’s just “too much work”). All the cool people (sorry, Mom) use OTT messaging apps because they’re fun, colorful, full of adorable stickers and themes, and way more convenient. My app of choice, Line, even has a whole backstory going on with its “Line Friends” characters.

How can you resist this!


Sarah Jacobsson Purewal

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