Why I Love Ephemeral Messaging (And You Should, Too!)
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Why I Love Ephemeral Messaging (And You Should, Too!)

The need to be forgotten is strong. People want to share their whims with friends but not with everyone. This has been clearly proven with the emergence of messaging services that forget, a market driven by the intense popularity of Snapchat. It seems like everyone’s making an app or adding self-destructing messages these days, partly driven by the increasing user awareness of privacy in the never ending NSA snooping affair. The best way to protect your information is to have no stored information to protect.

Person to person communication is ephemeral in its nature

The change is not only about privacy, it’s a change in behavior. People act and share differently when they know that a photo or video will live forever. It has a tendency to be about creating a statement or a fictive persona. People publish images that are an Instagram filtered version of their reality.


Ephemeral messaging, knowing that your message or image will be gone in a moment, creates a room for more intimacy than for instance Facebook can offer. You can share your unfiltered opinions and worries with your best friend like if you had been on a tête-a-tête even though you are miles away.

Mobile employees also need to communicate “off-the-record”

Ephemeral messaging services are also gaining traction in the enterprise arena with early interest from for instance hospitals, elderly care, police departments and financial institutions. This probably relates to the growing “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend, where many businesses are moving away from forcing employees to carry company-owned handsets, laptops and tablets while still needing to bring their data and communication into the field in a secure and controlled manner.


In a world of increasing corporate espionage and hacker intrusions, it will be a necessity for many big corporations and governments that conversations are off-the-record and stolen or lost devices doesn’t contain any important data.


Some examples

Two C-level managers that need to discuss an upcoming merger.  This is a C-level discussion only, not for the IT department to monitor or leaking to any employees. Or to any competitors for that matter.


A co-worker has a personal problem that he or she want’s to discuss with a manager or corporate HR function. Maybe, you don’t want that to be discussed among your colleagues?


A sales person in the airport needs to chat with the sales manager over discount levels in a bid. Airport WiFis are open and notoriously public, and you never know who is sitting behind you listening in.


A travelling co-worker has his phone stolen and you would be more comfortable if you knew that all messages, files, contacts, etc. would have been auto-deleted.

Ephemeral communication app development made simple by Apptimate.io

The Apptimate platform is designed for the ephemeral communication paradigm of evaporating data. This goes for any type of data; text messaging, positioning, IoT sensor signalling, etc. The communication passes from user to user and is only stored on Apptimate servers in a queue when the receiver is off-line. As soon as he is online again the queue is emptied into the receiver app. This is a process called, “forgetful networking”.


As a developer, you can, of course, create your own history features by storing the messages in a database, but I strongly recommend to keep that database away from servers to maintain high privacy protection. Usually, it should be enough to keep history lists on the sender and receiver devices. The communication history is only their business so it should be kept like that for no-one else to read.

In the ephemeral concept, there is usually a disposable messaging feature to self-destruct the messages. This is supported on the Apptimate service by having a time stamp on all messages. This can be used to create a time based auto-delete function, similar to Snapchat, or in accordance with corporate policies on data storing. For instance, it is quite easy to implement an auto-delete to clear all local device messages upon closing a project or when an employee leaves the company and brings his device with him.


Interested in creating an ephemeral messaging app that rival Snapchat? Or creating a mobile workforce solution with in-the-field communication? Contact us directly to discuss opportunities wth this technology, possibilities and implementation strategies. It’s just your data traffic that is ephemeral, not your possibilities.