With approximately 1,8 billion users, Facebook is basically the king of social networking sites. Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger come in second with approximately 1 billion users utilising the respective apps. Ultimately, all three of these apps belong to one company so they’re all kingin’ it actually.
Of these three social media giants, Whatsapp has had the most rapid growth, reaching their 1 billion mark just 8 eight years after their launch. Their success can be credited on a number of superb features, the most important one being the spectacular user experience of the app. Whatsapp developers have created the app in such a way that it doesn’t lag no matter how many users are using the app at one time. With over 600 billion messages being sent through the app daily, one would expect glitches and lags but the app operates with such smoothness you feel like you’re only one using it. Another upside of the app is that there are no ads on it. We all know how annoying it is to try and use a site or app and constantly having pop ads that you’re not interested in. Whatsapp completely eradicated this feature arguably making it the most pleasant app to use. Lastly, the app is free to use and who doesn’t like free stuff?
Whatsapp has always prided itself on having very little features which is how they have accumulated their success. However, over the years they have slowly begun to implement features that make the user experience more interesting. They started off with the status feature which allowed users to update their status (much like Facebook) and post what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, etc. In the last few years they have continued to add features like the infamous “blue tick” and the voice call/video call feature which lets you make direct calls to your contacts using the app. Their latest feature which was been rolled out recently is the status story feature which mimics Snapchat’s stories feature.
The rolling out of this new feature has been received with lots of criticism, many saying Whatsapp is just riding the “Snapchat wave”. This may be very true, Instagram did the same thing too with the introduction of Instastory. Many people had the same reservations about Instastory when it came out but it has surprisingly become more popular than Snapchat. In retrospect, Snapchat is a really cool concept but the actual app is struggling to break through and sit alongside the other top social media applications. Yeah sure it’s very popular amongst millennials but it only sits at 300 million users worldwide; peanuts compared to Whatsapp and Instagram’s 1 billion user positioning.
So whats the future for Whatsapp stories? It’s really still too early to predict the success for this new feature but it does stand a chance to be something great. For starters, they can now tap into other target groups beyond millennials but the question lies on whether other target groups will actually explore this new feature. If we look at how popular Instagram and Facebook have been across all generations, the chances of this trend also becoming popular are quite high too. Ultimately one has more contacts (or maybe we should start calling them followers?) on Whatsapp so many more people will view your story than they would on Snapchat.
All in all, social media networking has reached a new era, which is in line with todays “instant gratification” generation; creating content right there and then that doesn’t have to live for eternity on the cyber cloud. Pretty soon, more social media sites will follow the same trend and probably take it above and beyond what it is right now. While everyone might feel like we’re being overwhelmingly bombarded with social media innovations, the reality is that this growth isn’t about slow down any time soon either. So, it’s best to just soak it all in and enjoy the ride.