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How many chat systems do you use? If I look at my own device and exclude work-related Slack messages, I’d say 50 percent of my chats are in iMessage, 30 percent WhatsApp, and 20 percent are some mix of SMS, Snapchat, Instagram direct messages, Skype, Twitter DMs, and Facebook Messenger. My colleagues in Japan overwhelmingly use Line while my friends in China do the same with WeChat. My security-minded friends, meanwhile, all use Signal or Telegram. And still, there are many more chat systems to choose from.

That’s probably why the XKCD comic above hit particularly close to home on Monday.

There was a time when universal chat clients were, well, universal, and worked with the most popular chat systems available. That’s because chat was…

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