In 2014, when Facebook told its users that they could not message people through the mobile Facebook app anymore, and that they would have to actually use a separate Facebook Messenger app, many people were perplexed.
Three years later, it looks like that move has been a winner for Facebook. Today, Facebook Messenger has over 1.2 billion monthly active users and is considered the world’s third largest social network behind of course Facebook and WhatsApp.
The growth of facebook messenger app is only continuing at a rapid rate. Overall, the projected growth is staggering, with 2 billion people projected to use messaging apps by 2018.
It won’t be long before I believe that Facebook Messenger will be the biggest social network on the planet.
“Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.” — Mark Zuckerberg, in a public Q&A in November 2014
What can you do with facebook Messenger in 2017
There have been many changes made to the Messenger app in the last 12 months and some of them are mind boggling.
Firstly, let’s take a look at all of the new things that you can do with the Messenger app so you can get an idea of just what has been happening behind the scenes at Facebook.
Facebook’s grand plan is to turn its Messenger service into a one stop platform for all of its social media users, especially after the company decided to enable Messenger to be able to send and receive texts in 2016.
All of these new changes have made Facebook Messenger a very, very powerful platform in 2017.
Facebook Reactions let you react to messages with new emoji icons very similar to how you can already interact with post, that are on Facebook right now. The new set of emojis includes things like thumbs down, which actually isn’t present in the native Facebook platform, as well as new love emojis and other ones such as WOW , Sad, Angry, Thumbs up and the Ha-Ha mentions.
Facebook Mentions are very new and they let you tag somebody in a chat.
For instance, you may want to let someone know you’ve been speaking about them. Simply type in the “@” followed by the name of the person you wish to tag, so the person you tag obviously receives a special notification stating that you’ve mentioned them in a group chat or via direct message.
You can always turn this feature off if you want to because sometimes that can be really annoying especially in a group situation.
Sharing a static location was always possible on facebook…you could always check in and say I am at this Bar or this restaurant. Now you can actually share your location as you move around so you can make it easy for your friends to find you.
All you need to do is open the chat in Facebook Messenger with somebody you want to share your location and hit the plus button in the bottom left (on iOS) and then look for the location button that is a navigational arrow.
You can change the default sharing time and it also shows you how long it would take you to get to one another. The app will continue to show you location updating your status in real time inside the Facebook Messenger app, which is pretty cool. You can stop at any time by typing a large red stop sharing button just below the map.
This feature is going to help your friends and family know exactly where you are at any particular time.
Your location will be visible to the intended recipient for as long as one hour.
It’s really great if you’re at a venue or concert and you try to find your friends. Or maybe you are at a crowded beach for instance and you want to find your friends quickly.
An icon pops up with a map and it shows you their exact location, so then you can go and find these people.
Now, of course , if this seems like a little bit of “Big Brother”, then you can opt in an opt out of this feature.
Messenger Day is a little bit like Snapchat stories, you can share your photos, videos with people, you can add all sorts of tools and effects just like you can on Snapchat.
On your home screen, you click on the “add to your day” at the very top of messenger. Once you’ve done that then you can create a little synopsis of what’s been happening for your day.
You get to choose who sees your Messenger Day pictures and you can share it publicly, or you can just pick certain people and let them see what you’re doing. Each of these pictures lasts for 24 hours on your account.
Another big feature of Messenger that’s just been rolled that is Group payments. The group payments feature will let you send and receive money from people in group chats. All you need to do is enter a group conversation, you type on the plus sign at the bottom left, and then you tap on the payments icon.
Users can also request payments from other group members, either it’s contributions for events or for other purposes. Think of that from a small business point you may want to have a group coaching session. You could charge people to have a little group session, you could collect payments from that individual group session on Facebook Messenger.
Maybe you’re in a group, at a restaurant and you want to split the bill. You could get money from everybody through Messenger, send them out the message and say, “Here’s the bill and everyone pays into one’s person’s Facebook Messenger account.” I think payments are going to be huge for Facebook because there’s lots of upside in the payments scheduling section.
The payments feature used to be available for only two connected parties. It’s been around since 2015, and Facebook do not take any cut of the payments at this stage.
The platform will be free to users that have entered debit information and the pin to verify the payments into its app.
Other things that you can do with Facebook Messenger
No facebook account? No Problem!
Did you know that you do not actually have to have a Facebook account to use Messenger.
This all goes well for making the Messenger a standalone app. Back in 2012 Facebook first announced that Android users could sign up to Messenger without having a Facebook account.
All they needed was a name and a phone number. Then in 2013, Facebook decided to let users send messages to anyone regardless of whether you were friends or not, but you had to have each other’s phone numbers in your contact lists.
Today, as long as you’re over 13 years old you can sign up for Messenger as long as you have a phone number, no Facebook account needed. All you have to do is download the Messenger app and you get access to all of the Messenger features.
Get Messages without logging into facebook
You can also access Messenger without logging into Facebook. There was a lot of confusion early on about how to access Messenger when Facebook decided to remove it from the actual Facebook app.
Some people were happy to downloaded the app. Other people hated the idea of having two separate apps and couldn’t work out why they needed to download it. Instead of downloading Messenger, they would use the browser on their phone to log into Facebook and check out their messages.
What you probably didn’t realize was that you can just go to the Messenger website (https://www.messenger.com) and log in and view your messages. Again, this is just a Messenger specific website, so if you want to avoid all of the annoying posts from your friends on Facebook then you could just go straight to Messenger and you don’t have to see all the Facebook news feed items.
Of course, we’ve spoken about payments, if you want to pay somebody you can just tap the dollar symbol in Messenger and you can make a secure payment to your friends using your debit card. It doesn’t cost you any money. It’s actually free, which is great. Very secure and it’s pin protected and you can enter description of the payment as well.
Facebook Secret Messages
You can also send secret messages on Messenger.
Facebook has been working very hard on the back end that allows you to send secret messages that will actually self-destruct and disappear after a set amount of time.
Here is How to create a secret message on facebook
A secret conversation in Messenger is encrypted end-to-end, which means the messages are intended just for you and the other person—not anyone else, including facebook. Keep in mind that the person you’re messaging could choose to share the conversation with others (ex: a screenshot). Both you and the other person in the secret conversation have a device key that you can use to verify that the messages are end-to-end encrypted.
To start a secret conversation:
- FromHome, tap in the top right
- TapSecret in the top right
- Select who you want to message
- If you want, tap in the text box and set a timer to make the messages disappear
You can also set a timer to have your messages disappear from the conversation. Learn what you can send in a secret conversation.
Secret conversations are currently only available in the Messenger app on iOS and Android, so they won’t appear on Facebook chat or messenger.com. They’re also only visible on the device where you create the conversation and the device the recipient uses to open the conversation.
Booking a ride with Uber and Lyft
You can book a ride with Uber or Lyft through Messenger.
Facebook Messenger partnered with Uber and Lyft so you can actually send a request for a ride to Uber or Lyft.
If you want to access this feature, you just click on the plus button in the Messenger, and then click on request a ride icon and just like that you’ve got to ride without having to leave the Messenger app. Facebook are very keen to keep you on its platform for as long as it can.
Games on messenger
If you are one of those people that loves to have games at the ready, then this cool feature is for you.
There’s lots of games on Messenger too, if you want to play some of the latest games, Facebook are rolling out a whole series of new games.
You can challenge people on Messenger to games and see who gets the highest score.
Friends can see your scores.
When you play, games will have access to your name and profile picture. If you challenge a friend to a game, your score will appear in your conversation with them.
To find and play games in messenger:
Open a conversation with the person or people you want to play a game with.
Tap > Games. If you don’t see that option, tap then .
Tap the game you want to play and tapPlay Now.
As you can see, the growth of facebook messenger app has been rapid and has a new set of nice features and updates, but the biggest part is yet to arrive…well, in fact it is here and I will be exploring that in detail in the next post.