Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg probably made the smartest move since he founded Facebook, back in 2003, when he recently announced that Facebook will be acquiring WhatsApp for USD 19 billion.
With 1.26 billion active users, Facebook currently leads WhatsApp, which has approximately 417 million active users, however the gap is closing fast.
Although both Facebook and What’sApp provide social media presnce,WhatsApp is gaining ground at the expense of Facebook and others because it is comparatively much simpler to navigate,use and nurture.
All one needs is a most basic smartphone and medium speed internet connectivity, to download the WhatsApp application and begin using the chat service. Anybody in a phone’s contact list, who is also a WhatsApp subscriber is instantly contactable, without any waiting period or approval procedures.
Comparatively, Facebook is quite complicated and one needs to first send a ‘ friend request ‘ and then wait for them to accept the same.
Facebook is also quite adept at always making unsolicited suggestions to its subscribers to like certain Facebook pages or like certain people simply because they are connected via Facebook to somebody who is connected with you.
All this, irritates the young users and intimidates the elderly, who would rather prefer that their social media interaction is uncomplicated and a one touch process.
Globally over 968 million smartphones were sold to the end users in 2013, an increase of 42.3 percent over 2012.
Thus, as more and more people of all ages acquire a social media foot print through hand held devices, the accent is on compartmentalising one’s social media persona by joining or initiating different groups over a popular platform like WhatsApp.
Today, an average person is typically an active member of 4-5 WhatsApp groups, sharing text,pictures and videos as well as audio notes with:
Close family, extended family which includes uncle aunts and cousins, school/childhood friends, college friends, work place friends.
The beauty here is that relevant information is shared with relevant people without having to worry about ‘ privacy settings ‘ etcetera.
Although not many people have abandoned Facebook as yet, there has been a definite drop in the number of minutes per day that a person spends on Facebook.
These days, an average Facebook experience seems limited to receiving new news stories from various media channel’s pages previously ‘ liked ‘ and reading status updates from those friends and relatives who have not been able to make it to any WhatsApp group yet.
These days, people don’t say text it or email it. They simply say WhatsApp it !!
So, WhatsApp is the new Facebook plus more and in essence, Mr Zuckerberg can continue to keep laughing all the way to the bank.