BlackBerry Creates Mobile Social Network with Launch of BBM Channels

BlackBerry Messenger has 60 million users and sees 10 billion messages sent per day. And when the free messaging app launches on iOS and Android, those numbers could easily double or quadruple.

But BBM users are not just potently active, they’re also highly engaged: according to chief executive officer Thorsten Heins, half of those 10 billion messages are read within 20 seconds of landing on a recipient’s device.

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This is a rock-solid foundation to build Channels on, BlackBerry’s latest effort to connect its users. Channels is in essence a mobile social network build on the BBM platform, which allows brands and celebrities to have their BBM feeds followed by other BBM users, not unlike following a Twitter user or subscribing to the Facebook feed of someone a little too famous to be friends with.

Quoth BlackBerry:

Today, BlackBerry takes BBM to the next level with BBM Channels, extending the BBM experience to brands, artists, businesses and communities, you will now be able to connect with individuals and groups in real time. Stay up to date on your favorite things. Receive timely updates and participate by commenting on, liking and sharing posts. Or choose to express yourself and create a channel of your own – and create, edit & publish in an instant.

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Here are some features of BBM Channels from BlackBerry’s blog:

  • Create a channel – Create, edit and publish in an instant, and there are no limits to the number of followers you can have in your channel. Securely manage your channel from either a BlackBerry smartphone or the web.
  • Discover channels – BBM Channels includes a carousel that lets you discover new channels. You can share channel invites within a BBM chat, and people can be added or invited using the channel’s PIN or QR code.
  • View – View profiles for each BBM Channel you choose to follow.
  • Subscribe – Subscribing to a channel allows the channel owner to send you timely and relevant updates, giving the subscriber instant access to your news, deals, events or whatever you want to communicate. Subscribers can choose to receive notifications when new posts are available.
  • Participate – Participate and engage in conversations with your favorite people or communities by “Commenting” and “Liking” posts from channels you subscribe to. Channel owners have the option to directly chat one-on-one with a subscriber.
  • Monitor engagement – Easily use built-in measuring tools to assess and monitor follower engagement and interaction

BBM with BBM Channels is now available in beta for BlackBerry 10 smartphones, as well as BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry 5 OS through 7.1.