iMessage’s little blue bubble has become a sign of social distinction among teens

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By differentiating messages from an iPhone from those from an Android smartphone, Apple has created a trend among teenagers, sometimes going so far as social exclusion.

This is an unexpected argument in the competition between Apple and the rest of the mobile industry: the opposition between the blue bubble and the green bubble. On iPhones, text messages sent from an Android smartphone appear on a green background, unlike those exchanged between Apple devices which are displayed in a blue bubble.

This difference, slight but visible, was enough to transform Android users into SMS “pariahs”, at least with some of the users. the Wall Street Journal goes so far as to evoke a contempt of young iPhone users for their peers who are decked out in the “little green bubble”, especially among adolescents.

The color difference.
The color difference. © Apple

The green bubble of discord

The blue bubbles have become a lever of influence in the choice of your smartphone, affirming Apple’s strategy of building customer loyalty. This situation is the result of a long-standing debate. If Apple has for a time considered offering iMessage on Android devices – in the form of an application to download, the milestone has never been crossed.

Among American teens, color differentiation has become a status symbol, sometimes the reason for slight discrimination. A student named Grace explains for example to Wall Street Journal to have witnessed it.

“I have already met people who have apologized for being on Android and not having iMessage. I don’t know if the Apple propaganda is involved, or if it’s a basic question of belonging or not to a group, but people do not seem to appreciate the green bubble and react negatively to it “, explains the young woman.

“Green is disgusting”

In another testimony, a 24-year-old student explains that her friends and her sister made fun of her conversations with a potential romantic target, for the simple reason that her answers were displayed in green. “Oh my god, his messages are green, it’s disgusting,” exclaimed his sister.

At the same time, the student reveals that she convinced a former boyfriend to swap his Android smartphone for an iPhone, shortly before their relationship ended.

It doesn’t stop with teenagers. In the “datingoverthirty” (“looking for love at thirty and over”) subcategory of the social network Reddit, a user with nickname Odd_Wash-10-4 explains that he was questioned on this subject several times by young women when he communicated with them by SMS.

“Oh, you are a ‘green texter’ I have been told several times,” he explains. “After that, some of them stopped answering me.”

On social networks, the category of “green texters”, users of green SMS, is now associated with a category of outdated people. This ostracization could also not be foreign at the average price of Android smartphones, much lower than that of the iPhone.

Apple's blue text bubbles.
Apple’s blue text bubbles. © Apple

Technological exclusion

If the setbacks of romantic relationships can make people smile, among the youngest, the fact of not owning an iPhone could have gone as far as social exclusion. This was the case with Miles Franklin, who owned an Android phone for a long time.

In high school, this situation was closely linked to the popularization of mobile gaming. Game Pigeon, an exclusive extension of iMessage very popular in American playgrounds.

This is an application for launching several small duo games, not available on Android. Miles Franklin then explains, nearby WSJ, to have been, “for the first time”, excluded from a group because of his smartphone, while all his friends were participating. He got an iPhone a few years later.

Subtle but effective

Apple’s loyalty strategy seems to have paid off. Especially since the color difference is not the only exclusivity offered by the message application.

It offers several options that have proven to be attractive to a large audience, such as the possibility of using memojis, small animated cartoons that you can create in your own image.

Other features exclusive to iMessage include the creation of discussion groups among multiple iPhone users, a process that excludes Android users in the process. The icon indicating that the other party has read a message or is writing are also very popular.

Animated emojis on iMessage.
Animated emojis on iMessage. © Elijah Nouvelage / AFP

These possibilities constitute as many entertaining options, especially among the youngest, who have today made the brand impose itself by making it indispensable for its users, and exclusive for others.

Today, Apple’s superiority is no longer to be proven: at the beginning of January, the results of a survey carried out among American teenagers reported that 87% of them owned an iPhone.

On the other hand, during the lawsuit between Apple and video game giant Epic Games, internal documents from the Californian company were made public. We learned in particular that Americans (from 14 years old) with an iPhone are 85% to regularly use iMessage, against 57% to use Messenger, Facebook’s instant messaging service available on iOS and Android.

By differentiating messages from an iPhone from those from an Android smartphone, Apple has created a trend among teenagers, sometimes going so far as social exclusion. This is an unexpected argument in the competition between Apple and the rest of the mobile industry: the opposition between the blue bubble and the green bubble. On iPhones,…

By differentiating messages from an iPhone from those from an Android smartphone, Apple has created a trend among teenagers, sometimes going so far as social exclusion. This is an unexpected argument in the competition between Apple and the rest of the mobile industry: the opposition between the blue bubble and the green bubble. On iPhones,…

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