The Failure of Instant Messaging Branding

MSN won’t connect, and AIM plays TCP/IP hopscotch. I unhook my ethernet cable from my POS Linksys router, and connect directly to my DSL modem, thus ensuring Linksys doesn’t pull a chinese gov’t, so I can now see and use the entire internet.

I do weird things when I get frustrated. Typically, emotions cloud my debugging capability. You fail to break up problems into manageable variables, confirm each has some, none, or major impact on the problem at hand.

So, I installed downloaded and Trillian because I got sick of AIM working, but not MSN… and then having to tell AIM to stop trying to knock on heaven’s door.

Cool, I never again use AIM or MSN; 1 program, manages the crud I don’t want to deal with, and allows me to communicate with others. Do I care about the context? No. Do I lose features? None that I care about. I can still instant message, I can still chat, I can still audio/video conference.

I dig Coke more than Pepsi, I dig Clarks more than Dr. Martin, I dig Macromedia more than Adobe. Yes, functionality & features play a part in all 3 mediums; but a major player is branding. Coke is a local brand, and as much as I dislike this state, I’m still loyal to home. I feel bad Delta’s stock is dying a slow, horrible death, and their negative company workings will hurt Atlanta since Hartsfield airport is 0wnz3d by them… but I dig Delta over A&A for that very reason; they are a local brand. I dig Clarks over Dr. Martin because I’m no longer a grungy teenager. Does that mean grungy people wear Dr. Martins? No, but their brand is associated with alty’s carrying post-X-gen icon metal lunch boxes with died hair, jamming to Mother Love Bone on their iPod. Granted, I use more of Macromedia’s products, but their branding has remained stronger over a longer period of time than Adobe’s. Many of us developers only have a cool looking desktop because Studio MX lines are taskbar’s quicklaunch tray.

…none of that plays any factor in my instant messenging life. Yeah, I got AIM for my phone, but even though I still get a headache from typing “lol” on my phone whilst chatting, I bought it to communicate, not because it was the AOL brand.

Software brands work and I am influenced by them. Instant Messenging brands, however, don’t, for me at least. ICQ used to be a cool brand like back in ’98… about the same time I stopped using it, and started using AIM. At that point, it’s really been about who in my social structure uses what. I’m not sure if they have been influenced by brand, but I’m only influenced by their influence.

Trillian removes all of that influence, and IM program changing dynamic. …well, I guess I’m now akin to Trillian, because they made my life easier, and made me realize AIM, Yahoo, and MSN offer me nothing in the way of product branding nor feature set, so I reckon I am somewhat liking the Trillian brand; but I’ve heard of other global IM clones, so I’ll be sure to try them too.

I guess my loyalty comes to functionality first, brand 2nd… but I don’t feel there was any brand loyalty at all to AIM, MSN, or Yahoo.