Although the typical computer setup doesn’t include a true SMS texting service, there are a few other options that a person can use to communicate with someone who has a smartphone. As a small business owner, I’ve found that being able to receive text messages has given my customers an easy way to get in touch with me when they need help, but it’s not an emergency. I can respond when it’s convenient without the interruptive features of a phone call. You know when you’re working really hard and you’re being super productive? Phone calls are the worst things that can happen because you lose your momentum; you fall out of ‘The Zone’. Increasingly it’s becoming more clear that people need significant stretches of uninterrupted time to really accomplish good work. Being able to respond at a time when the workflow would naturally need a break is extremely valuable.
In addition to being able to respond on your terms, what’s even more convenient is that many messaging services support both mobile and desktop platforms making it convenient for me to respond no matter what I’m up to – I could respond on my phone while I’m at a friend’s house, or I could respond directly from my computer if I happen to be in my office. So what are the various messaging services I use?
iMessage (by Apple)
Probably my favorite form of non-SMS messaging, the iMessage is seamless with true SMS messages on your phone and there’s no special set up. The downside is that it’s only available on iOS and Mac OS. I like it because I can message someone from my phone and those messages stay synced on both my iPad and my iMac. You AND the person you’re messaging must be using either a Mac, iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone in order to use iMessage so you won’t be able to use it with everyone.
Facebook Message/Facebook Messenger
Facebook’s messaging service has quickly become a big player in the world of messaging. Drawing on the dominance of the social network, the service is available on all types of mobile devices and any computer with an internet connection. Like iMessage, the messages stay synced on all of your devices allowing you to pick up your conversation from any location.
If you use Gmail, then you’re already set up for using Google Chat. It’s available on any computer with an internet connection or smartphone. On the mobile side, the application is known as Google Hangouts. Just like Facebook Messenger all of your chats are synchronized between devices. The downside, like iMessage, is that you can only chat with people who use similar technology (i.e. other Gmail users).