An Arab spring on Whatsapp!
This blogger got a mail from a dear friend at work saying ‘I have quit whatsapp, back to the SMS days!’. It hadn’t been a month between starting to use and quitting whatsapp for this friend. And this blogger has been guilty about sending a few whatsapp jokes(one per day) since the friend joined. On prodding for a reason, the friend replied, ‘all the family and friend network are on it and the phone keeps buzzing forever. It got a little overwhelming and no time for myself’.
This might have been an incident in isolation. But one wondered if Facebook was right in paying a high tab ($19 billion) to acquire this nice little messaging app company on the hint that the teen and youth were quitting Facebook en masse and having peer to peer or group conversations away from public’s eye. But then what about the the generation which was slightly older than the millenials who are used to buzzing mails on their touch less smartphones (named after a berry). Maybe it was a little too much for them to handle additional buzz of whatsapp and the pressure to catch up with their friends and groups (as friends get to see read receipts of their message once you open it. Windows Phone users are guilty of using one as whatsapp marks messages ‘read’/’seen’ by default). So it might just be Even Stevens, what Facebook lost in teen user base is gained in adult population sticking on and whats whatsapp lost in adult user base is gained in teens whatzapping each other. But with additional insights on who’s talking to whom, how often and on what topic. This besides direct reach to the end user through his/her mobile number. Ideal big data scenario to be cashed in with online advertising.
Maybe Facebook knows whats better. We will find out in the months to come.
So how does the story end for my friend? Two days later he writes back saying, ‘I am back on whatsapp due to family pressure’. Seems that this family group had decided to blackout any group conversation until he joined back. So the family members who wanted to continue the group talk cajoled the friend back to Whatsapp. Besides coming back to group, he has to share a quote everyday for a couple of weeks as a punishment.
Seemed like a little Arab Spring brewing in a whatsapp group with a school teacher leading it.
And here’s a quote for the occasion
‘Conversation is one when three people stand in the corner and talk
Gossip is when one of them leaves’