PING!!! FlashBack To The BBM Era

Indeed, nothing lasts forever.

Just recently, Emtek announced it will end support for the BlackBerry Messaging App (BBM) on the 31st of May, 2019. If you want to continue enjoying the BBM experience after that day, you will have to download the enterprise version which costs a little subscription fee every six months.

BBM was so big back in the days and was exclusive to BlackBerry Phones. What that meant was simple – “If you wanted to join the BBM family, buy a Blackberry Phone”. Nigerians heard that instruction and never looked back.

While we near the end of an era, let’s look back at some of the highlights of the BBM era.

Please, can I have your BB PIN?

Many guys will recall asking babes this question. In fact, this question meant that you had attained a certain status. It meant that you had purchased a BlackBerry Phone.

You can’t be a trendy guy without owning one of those Blackberry Phones. You may remember the Curve Series and the Bold Series. There was a time my ultimate dream was to own a BlackBerry Bold 2 Phone. Little did I know I was just being foolish because, by the time I got a Bold 2, people had moved on to Bold 5 and other apparatuses.

Blackberry Bold 2

Rich men and women had even two or more BlackBerry Phones which never went into their handbags or purses. Either they held those to show off or their P.As or escorts held those and walked closely behind them.

If someone gave you their BB PIN, it meant you could chat with them on the BlackBerry Messenger non-stop and exchange multimedia files. So, a babe giving you her BB PIN without batting her eyelids or making a fuss out of your request meant that she really really liked you. That was the perfect greenlight back then. That was her letting you into her world.

BIS

BIS is/was an acronym for BlackBerry Internet Subscription. At a point, paying for one’s BIS (which cost about 3,000 Naira initially) was the ultimate show of love.

If a girl paid for a guy’s BIS, the guy immediately assumed she loves him. If a guy paid for a girl’s BIS, his friends immediately assumed they were shagging, in a relationship or better still, about to get married. Yes, it was that deep.

If you were an undergraduate and you had a BlackBerry Phone in the early years of its release, you are either considered a trust-fund kid or a prostitute.

Truth be told, a lot of people swapped their virginities in exchange for BlackBerry Phones. Don’t ask me how I know. If you doubt me, go ask the Nollywood producers and directors who created the movie BlackBerry Babes (Parts 1-3). It might have even gone beyond Part 3. It wasn’t just another Nollywood movie, it was a big hit as it featured A-listers including Annie Macaulay (now Annie Idibia), Oge Okoye, Tonto Dikeh and Muna Obiekwe (of blessed memory).

Come and pay my BIS na” was a common phrase especially among female undergraduates

Mobile network providers competed among themselves in offering a better BIS package and eventually the price fell to about 1,500 Naira and the plans kept getting cheaper before it became Uhuru for everyone.

A mobile network provider’s BIS plan in the later years of BBM

PING!!!

When you saw bloody-red PING!!! in the middle of a conversation on BBM, it meant the sender wanted your attention so badly. As soon as the PING!!! hits the receiver’s phone, the phone vibrates heavily. If the phone was in your pocket and you were already dead, that vibration will bring you back to life.

When a lover who had received and read your message was ignoring you, just send some PINGs and they will respond. If the PINGS didn’t vibrate life into or out of them, it will kill their batteries. The receiver of such PINGs had only two choices – respond to the messages or turn off their phones.

Did you feel the vibration? 😂

Battery-Life

There is a conspiracy theory that often goes on in my head. I’m strong of the opinion that makers of power-banks came into business because of BlackBerry Phones.

Your battery could be 100% charged with your network turned off before you go to bed. Trust me, when you wake up the next morning, your battery is totally drained. Drained is not 10% or 5%, I mean your phone is off and burning hot. You could use your phone to iron some of your clothes at that point.

That was when Nigerians started carrying phone charges with them wherever they went. The more sockets and generators you had in your house, the more attractive you became.

Rapture

Yes! You could be chatting with your soulmate on BBM and just as you were about to press SEND, the contact will disappear. For a moment, you will be confused and it will feel like the world just ended and judgment is next.

It seems people realized how painful it was and started doing it more often. I remember chatting with rapper, Slow Dogg in 2012 and then ‘rapture’ took place. He deleted me off his BBM while I was typing. If BBM ‘raptures’ were not so painful, I wouldn’t remember the year and the person who did that to me.

As we know, every good or bad thing eventually comes to an end.

Years later when BlackBerry phones were no longer popping and Whatsapp started to kick arses, BBM was made available on Android and iOS devices. It was too late to cry however as the head was already off and rolling on the floor.

Indeed, vanity upon vanity; all the works of man under the sun is vanity!

 

As BBM becomes history soon, what are your fondest memories of that era? Please share those with us in the comment section.

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