On the internet arena, things change fast, but it seems that those changes go even faster when we talk about social.
There is no doubt that the king in Social Media is Facebook. Then there are the other players, trying to compete with the same model (Google tried it with Orkut, Google Buzz and now Google+).
Finally we have Whatsapp, that’s usually compared with instant messaging applications, competing with SMS and other apps like Skype, Viber, Wechat..
What made Whatsapp differential?
At the time Whatsapp appeared, the other instant messaging options were already trying to conquer our handsets. The traditional competitors (Skype, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk…) had an important advantage on this war, they already had a huge user-base.
But Whatsapp made a clever move. You don’t need to sign-up, your phone number becomes your unique id. The app automatically reads your address book, and suddenly, all your contacts that already have the app, are your “friends”. We didn’t not complain for this behaviour, the app was so nicely integrated, that seemed another functionality of the phone.
This differential thing was replicated by other instant messaging mobile apps, but not by the stablished players coming from desktop apps.
It’s Whatsapp just an IM app?
It started as an SMS substitute, but then you realize that you can create groups, and not just share text, but also images, video and voice messages. People are creating groups to share info with their families, close friends, colleagues… These are micro networks where people are active all the time, the sense of inmediacy is much higher than on a traditional social network where you check a couple of times per day.
Can Whatsapp threaten Facebook?
Facebook it’s so huge that cannot be a prey for Whatsapp. But it’s real that some of the core-functionalities of the social network are affected by the inmediacy of Whatsapp. Instead of having a conversation on the wall or in a group, people are using Whatsapp. Instead of creating an album for a party, teenagers directly share through Whatsapp.
People will continue posting things on Facebook, but definitely they are doing this on a lower frequency. They are aware of that, and Instagram is part of the solution. But there should be other movements to keep them in traction.