This week, Facebook opened its wallet and shelled out a whopping $19 billion for WhatsApp. Most people think of WhatsApp as an over-the-top messaging application, but I think the company is much more than that.
The old BlackBerry messenger app or even the Facebook messaging service are really examples of messaging services. While it’s true that WhatsApp provides that functionality, it also enables group chat and picture and video sharing. Through the app, users can share almost anything – short messages, pictures, YouTube videos, location information – and should be thought of as a rapid mobile social media platform. Share your life, even when mobile, through WhatsApp.
Facebook today is enormously popular and boasts a user population of more than a billion users, which raises the question – why did they need to shell out this kind of money for WhatsApp? I believe there’s a growing trend for the younger generation (teens and below) to bypass Facebook in favor of some of the other applications, like Vine, WeChat, SnapChat, Line and, of course, WhatsApp. I’ve heard of this group of users being referred to as “Facebook Nevers.” These types of applications have taken off like a rocket as mobile social networking continues to take off, and Facebook has been on the outside looking in. Facebook was once considered cool and edgy, and now many consider it the “establishment.” There’s a growing group of the younger population that consider it cool to NOT use Facebook.