Can you name a few of the world’s most popular social networks? Well, there’s Facebook, right? Then, uh, um… well… Instagram. How about YouTube? That’s kinda sorta mostly social, too. Oh, and Twitter. Definitely Twitter. Any more?
It depends upon what you define as a social network. Reddit? Pinterest? OK, fair enough. Tumblr? Uh, maybe, but the definition has broadened. LinkedIn? Alright, I’ll allow that one.
How about Apple?
Under a broadened definition of a social network, Apple’s answer to Facebook is itself. Apple has over 1-billion customers which compares favorably to Instagram’s 1-billion users. The standard definition is sufficiently broad to include Apple’s customer base.
A social networking service is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationship with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections
iPhone and iPad’s Messages? How is that not a social network?
The definition fits, folks.
Social networking sites allow users to share ideas, digital photos and videos, posts, and to inform others about online or real-world activities and events with people in their network.
Messages is online. Messages lets Apple’s customer differentiate themselves from Android riffraff (blue bubble vs green bubble). Messages is so distinct that Apple’s customers create their own little sub-network groups to share photos and videos, emoji and memoji and animoji.
Social networks are about class distinctions where we determine members of the class. Messages fits.
Again, the social network definition covers Apple’s 1-billion Messages users.
- socializing social network services used primarily for socializing with existing friends
- online social networks are decentralized and distributed computer networks where users communicate with each other through internet services.
- networking social network services used primarily for non-social interpersonal communication
Yes, definitions can get messy because even the telephone and cellphone are organic social networks of a sort, but more akin to Android SMS messages. Apple’s Messages is more akin to a vibrate and growing Facebook-like network with Instagram-like overtones.
For many years I have pointed out that differentiation is a key component to successful product marketing. Apple’s Messages is a perfect example because it sets the platforms– Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch– apart from standard text messages and creates a closed architecture, a network of sorts, that only includes Apple customers.
Messages is Apple’s answer to Facebook.