To Kik or not to Kik? Our editors answer the question

By Leigh Jacobson and Rachel Chistyakov

The new BBM… or is it?

Kik Messenger is the recently launched messaging texting application from Kik Interactive that is operable on Blackberrys, iPhones, and Android phones. Much like the widely-beloved BBM, the new messaging system aims to quicken connections, increase communication, and step onto the scene of what is rapidly becoming 2010’s most overused phrase: social networking.

Made public in April 2010, Kik is the brainchild of founder “Ted.” It strives to be yet another socializing app – the wannabe yin to BBM’s yang: “By making Kik Messenger insanely fast, and by showing when a message has been sent, delivered, and read, texting with Kik feels like a face-to-face conversation” (http://kik.com).

But has it succeeded?

Our opinions vary.

No- Kik

By Rachel Chistyakov

Kik wishes it was BBM.

With Kik, you can send instant messages to your friends if they have a Blackberry, iPhone, or Droid. You are notified when your message is read and you can see when someone is typing you a message. This is basically the same idea that BBM offers, but BBM is exclusive to Blackberrys.

But unlike BBM, Kik drains your battery like crazy. When I had it downloaded, my battery died within two hours. This is not so convenient for anyone. What is it about Kik that makes the application kill my phone so quickly? I have always had BBM on my phone and it has never drained my battery with such tremendous speed. I would have kept Kik installed on my phone if it was necessary, but this is not where the deficiency ends.

My dad does not have BBM. Therefore, when he sends me a text message, there is no possible way he could tell if I read it or not. This offered me a very nice leeway when it came to breaking my curfew, running to get some Starbucks when I wasn’t allowed to, or just not doing something he texted me to do. When my dad downloaded Kik, he was able to see when I read the message, so there was no excuse for doing something I wasn’t supposed to do. This adds an unnecessary element of stalking into my life that I could have done without. Some might say, “Why did you add your dad on Kik in the first place?” Simply, I didn’t have a choice.

Another downside of Kik is that anyone can add you onto his or her contacts list without your approval. All they have to do is search your name and click “Add Contact” and boom, you are on their contacts list and they are on yours. If that is not a complete invasion of privacy then I don’t know what is. With BBM, you have to approve people onto your contacts list before they can start messaging you. What if I don’t want my grandpa, my uncle, or my sister on my Kik contacts list? Do I even have a choice of who gets to add me?

Kik has taken away my freedom and my battery. It has taken something exclusive to one type of phone model and offered it to almost everyone. One of the main reasons so many teenagers have a Blackberry is because of BBM, but now Kik has given everyone a free-for-all. Kik could be a great success if it was able to steal BBM’s idea in a sufficient way, but there are so many downsides to the application that I don’t see a point in having it. If someone wants to contact me, they can just add me on BBM (mypin: 226bbf0b, add me!). If they don’t have a Blackberry, then they can stick to texting or maybe even try calling instead. Kik is just another unnecessary tool in the technologically advanced teenager’s world that will hopefully disappear over time.

Pro-Kik

By Leigh Jacobson

When Gabe Freeman introduced me to the world of Kik, I was a bit skeptical. One should always be when dealing with a program that requires an insertion of personal information that is then made public.

Shortly, however, I realized that there was nothing to worry about, because what’s not to like about an easily accessible program that includes friends with other phones and operating systems? I see no issue whatsoever with expanding my contact list to encompass even those without Blackberrys- the simple point is to open another resource of communication. I believe that Kik has succeeded in not only increasing accessibility beyond the Blackberry-only constraints of BBM- but also serves as yet another useful tool of contact.

Is it a radical departure from BBM? Not at all. In fact, much like BBM, you are notified when people read your text, letting you know that they have received a message. Considering the fact that BBM does the very same thing, how could it possibly be an issue uniquely attributed to this new program?

So why fight for exclusivity? Why not broaden our means of contact and communication? If it’s as beneficial as BBM, why should we keep it from users with other phones? Since this is Milken “Community” High School, should we not strive to include everyone?

All in all, do you NEED this app to Kikstart your social life? Not really. But it doesn’t hurt.

Article Image: http://thecellularguru.com

9 COMMENTS

  1. Battery is fine on an iPhone. Its just the way the Blackberry runs apps, not the service itself

    A service isn’t bad because it makes it hard to do something your not supposed to be doing.

  2. Not to Kik- On my iPhone, it drains my battery. It is extremely slow (at least for me). Sometimes I get a notification saying I have a new message, but it doesn’t appear when I open the app. And most importantly, the fact that people can see when I read their message is a little too much. And that goes for BBM too. I like good ole text messaging. And with an unlimited texting plan, I don’t see the point of Kik.

    I do like that it’s cross-platform. That’s a great feature.

  3. hey, let’s not make this a battle of iphone vs. blackberry, julian. maybe it’s my phone, or maybe kik is trying to steal all of my battery, i can’t know for sure. and my argument concerning my dad is simply to state that kik takes away my privacy and the paragraph that follows shows that kik doesn’t give me any control over my privacy. this is a major issue for me and for teenagers everywhere. we all like our privacy and i just wish kik had more privacy settings.

  4. Kik is distracting us from the work that needs to get done. If we’re Kik-ing, what time is left for us to indulge in all of our other sundry distractions?

  5. I for one, LOVE kik. I currently have the Blackberry Torch, which I do not love…whatsoever. The reason I keep on buying blackberrys, is because they pretty much control my social life. Aside from the facebook event parties which are planned in advance, Milken is not known for throwing many parties. Yet, with the broadcast feature on BBM, an impromptu ‘kickback’ is right at your fingers. With KIK, that availability of having all your friends is just a click a way. Hopefully everyone will get KIK, so i can get rid of my blackberry, and get an iPhone with fatbooth….i really want fatbooth.

    • I’m just saying that your criticizing specific aspects of the service that don’t really quantify whether Kik is good or bad. Not everyone is in the same “I have a Blackberry, my parents don’t” situation that makes Kik a privacy concern.

      But where your right in another about Kik is that it is not as good as BBM and I probably wouldn’t use it if I didn’t have an iPhone

  6. you make a good point, julian. but if my dad had a blackberry, i wouldn’t add him on bbm anyway. with kik, i don’t have a choice of whether or not i want to add him, the application simply added him without my permission. i love the idea of kik and i wish i could use it with out having these problems. hopefully they’ll improve it.

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