We’ve come a long way with mobile phones; the days where you’d go to a supermarket and ‘top up’ your phone as you were paying 12p to send a text are done.
The texts where you were limited to a certain number of characters – of which over 50% were taken up by the amount of ‘Xs’ you’d send – have been replaced by social media apps which put us constantly in communication via our tablets.
If it’s not a Tweet, it’s a Snap; if it’s not a ‘DM’, it’s a WhatsApp – the options are endless. And more often than not, our need to constantly feel interconnected are powered by WhatsApp.
We all use it in different ways; some turn the notifications off to avoid the endless back-and-forth on groups chat, others – the more privately inclined – keep those blue ticks and ‘last seen’s’ switched off; don’t worry, the MI5 aren’t watching your every move.
Any form you use it in, we’re all glued to it. So much so that there are one billion active users on WhatsApp every day, with the small amount of 55 billion messages being sent every 24 hours.
It would seem the majority contributing to all this are countries in Asia, as well as South Africa, surprisingly, having the most amount of adults on WhatsApp than any other country.
South Africa’s huge consumption of WhatsApp saw the messenger app wipe out the likes of Blackberry Messenger in the communication market with the ease at sharing videos and photos reportedly being a big factor in South Arica’s ‘BMexit’.
Facebook’s buying of WhatsApp for $19 billion would indicate a consumer for the app is the biggest consumer of all things — the U.S. However, the USA barely uses WhatsApp as a form of communication with just 8% of adults having the messenger system on their device.
With the majority of mobile phone packages offering free SMS and voice calling in America since 2010, WhatsApp has failed to penetrate the American markets.
The heavy usage of Facebook messenger and people’s preferences to be data protective has furthered WhatsApp’s ability to take off in the US.
Interestingly enough, only India of the top 10 highest GDP countries in the world, is also in the top 10 for WhatsApp usage within the country.
China continues to use the likes of WeChat with only 4% of adults using WhatsApp, and even the UK’s minor 36% of adults using the device suggests it’s not as popular/widely used in Britain as one would assume.
We feel the need to be interconnected and technology advancing allows that to happen. However, one of the biggest platforms for communication online has failed to penetrate the biggest powerhouse in the world – America – and does not look like playing a major part in their communication anytime soon.