Heard of Kik and wondering what it is? You may have noticed that lots of Instagram users list their Kik usernames in their bios. It's a big trend that are clearly visible on lots of popular accounts.
So, What Is Kik?
It looks and feels nearly identical to SMS text messaging, however it uses your smartphone's data plan or WiFi connection to send and receive messages. The biggest downside to using Kik is that you must always have some sort of data or WiFi connection in order to use it.
Why Use Kik?
Most people use Kik as a simple alternative to email or public chatting on any other social networking site. It's also a great substitute for regular SMS text messaging, often as a way to avoid expensive data charges or avoid going any text limits.
In just over two years, the Kik Messenger app grew into one of the best chat platforms you can get on a smartphone and supports over 4 million users, called “Kicksters.”
Kik was built to mimic the look and functionality just like smartphone SMS text messaging, except it asks you to create a username to chat with friends, rather than providing your phone number. Here are some of the features you can expect to get out of using it.
Live typing: You can see whenever the person you're chatting with is typing a message live, which is helpful to know that you should be expecting to receive a message back within a few seconds.
Notifications: When you send and receive messages, you are notified when they are sent and delivered.
Invite friends: Kik can send out invites to people you know by SMS text, by email, or through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. When a friend signs up for Kik with their phone number or email that you already have saved on your phone, Kik recognizes that you’re friends and sends you both a notification to connect on Kik.
Multimedia message sending: You aren’t just restricted to sending text messages with Kik. You can send images, videos, sketches, emoticons and more.
Social integration: You can connect to other popular social platforms like Instagram, SocialCam and Viddy to easily share your photos and videos.
Profile integration: You have your own username and account, which you can customize with a profile picture and contact information.
Conversation lists: Like any smartphone SMS text platform, Kik lists all the different conversation you have with people. Click on any to pull up the conversation and start chatting with them.
Chat customization: You might notice that Kik closely resembles the iMessage design. You can choose what colors you want for your chat bubble.
Privacy: You can choose whether or not you want Kik to access your address book to match it with your contacts. You can also block users on Kik from contacting you.
How to Start Using Kik
To get started, the first thing you need to do is download the mobile app. Luckily, Kik Messenger is extremely versatile and has apps for nearly every major mobile platform. You can download it from iTunes for iPhone (or iPod Touch or iPad), from Google Play for Android phones, from the Blackberry App World for Blackberry devices, from the Windows Phone Marketplace for Windows phones and from Nokia’s Ovi Store for Nokia devices.
Once you have the app installed, Kik will automatically ask you to create a new account or sign-in if you already have an account. All you really need is a username, an email address and a password, but you can provide other information like your full name, your phone number and a profile picture.
Again, the major drawbacks are the need for a data or WiFi connection, along with the need for friends to also have a Kik account if you want to interact with them through Kik. Still, it’s a great messaging option that has been growing steadily in popularity over the years.
More Instant Messaging Apps
Interested in learning what other Kik-like apps are out there? Check out this article on 10 of the most popular instant messaging apps.