How Did Whatsapp Become Popular?

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22nd Feb 2019 Technology Reference this

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How did WhatsApp overpower other chatting apps? A research on what reasons made WhatsApp the number 1 chatting app in the past 5 years.

Abstract

In this research, 15 random chat apps users who are from different ages, genders, countries, and educational status filled a survey about their usage and experience of chatting apps.  The analysis of the survey showed that 85.7 percent of chatting apps users are addicted to them as they use them for more than three hours per day. most of them prefer Whatsapp for different reasons. 57.1 percent of the users said that privacy is number one priority for them. They look for a chatting app by which they can remain anonymous and their personal information are safe. Another fifty percent of the users said that they prefer WhatsApp because it is easy to use. A friendy user interface make chatting simpler and easier. A chatting app is made to make peoples life easier so it must be, it self, simple. Only 42.9 percent of users care about the security of the chatting app they use. They look for a chatting app that had no vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to hack into their phones. Worth to mention that there is no 100 percent secure app or system so no matter how the system platform is protected and well built, still there is a way or another to hack into it. The last reason for choosing Whatsapp is that it is popular and most people use it. 35.8 percent of users said that no matter how good it is, a messaging app is nothing without plenty of users. They want a chatting app in which they can find their friends and communicate with them.

Introduction

We are in a time in which chatting apps and social media became of the needs of our daily life. Whether they agree or not, people depend on chatting apps so much on their life to the extent that they can not live without. They use them in all aspects of life eg. get in touch with their friends and relatives, to discuss matters of business, and to explain a lesson to a classmate. Beside the instant messaging, the group chats that people create with friends and colleagues help them to share their ideas, information, point of views, and feelings with each other.  The trend of instant messaging apps lead to the establishment of many chatting apps until it turned into a business in which many counterparts challenge each other to create an application that can attract the majority of users by offering them the features that they look for. One of these chatting applications is WhatsApp. It was established in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum with the slogan “Simple. Personal. Real time messaging.” The new app came with plenty of features like as the ability to make group chats, set broadcast contacts and send unlimited images, video and audio messages. Beside being full of features, easy to use, and a pioneer in its category, it helped people to save money by using it instead of the regular SMS messages (Short Message Service) so users do not have to pay extra fees for sending messages. Moreover, it helped make communication over barriers much easier and cheaper than it ever been. All of these features, and others, made WhatsApp the number one chatting app for the past 5 years.

In this study, I will investigate how did WhatsApp become the number one chatting app in the world during the past 5 years, what people like on WhatsApp, and what circumstances lead to the failure of other chatting apps. I used a survey which is filled by 15 random people in different ages, genders, countries, and educational status to see what do they like on chatting apps, WhatsApp specifically,  what do they do not like, and what do they expect is the future of chatting applications. The survey is analyzed and its results and foundings are shown at the end of this research paper.

Literature review

Many studies are done about chatting apps, social media, Whatsapp.

A study entitled “Smartphone application usage amongst students at a South African University”,done in the year 2012 by Walter U, Aadilah M, et.al assessed on the usage of smartphones and social media in between users in a South African University. The study showed that students remain online for 16 hours a day and spend about 5 hours per day on their smart phones interacting and communicating with other their friends, colleagues and relatives through social networking applications. This Application (WhatsApp) is highly addictive and can create a great impact on regular users, and apart from that it can leave a trace that becomes difficult to control and cure. Some of the most prominent technological innovations are smart phones, laptops and using the internet. They have greatly affected many aspects of our lives. Today the Internet continues to grow day by day at an incredible speed. About 32.7% of the world’s population has access to the internet. Howe, Yeboah J, Ewur G. (2014) The two researchers also said that the main purpose behind this application is to replace SMS with a crossplatform mobile messenger that works on an internet data plan. If you have unlimited text, it is still beneficial as it is a convenient way to avoid international fees that carriers may charge.

Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman, (1995) define trust in chatting and social media as “the willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party” (p. 712) Trust is also important for successful online interactions (Coppola, Hiltz, and Rotter, 2004, Jarvenpaa and Leidner, 1998, Meyerson, 1996, Piccoli and Ives, 2003).

Trust is also a central component of social exchange theory (Roloff, 1981).

“Millions of people have joined social networking sites, adding profiles that reveal personal information. The reputations of social networking sites has been diminished by a number of incidents publicized by the news media” (Chiaramonte and Martinez, 2006, Hass, 2006, Mintz, 2005, Read, 2006), This raise the question whether ot not it is “possible to join a network of millions of people and be able to trust all of them.” Of course this does not look plgican. WWe can not trust strangers. Howver people still join networks and reveal their very personal information. what role does trust play in the use of social networking sites?

Case study

This study is based on a survey in which the responders answer some questions about what attracts him or her to a chatting app, what features does he or she want, and what aspects does he keep in mined when he choose a chatting app eg.security, privacy, ease to use and popularity of the application. This survey is published in a twitter page. 15 random people were engaged in it. They are from different ages, genders, countries, and educational status. The variety of the responders should help getting more accurate results and foundings for the study. A copy of the survey is attached.

Research and survey results

 The published survey got 15 responses from which I derived these analysis and answer the question of the paper, how did whatsapp overpower other chatting apps and be number one chatting application during the recent five years?

The responses showed that 85.7% of users use different chatting apps more than three hours per day which is considered as addiction. Only 14.3 use instant messaging apps for only 1-3 hours per day. This is a regular usage. And nobody from the responders use chatting apps less than an hour a day. These results indicate that people are obviously in addiction with chatting apps no matter what do they use them for.

When the responders were asked about the chatting apps they use, the all put WhatsApp at the top of the list, twitter comes second and Black Berry third. The reasons they all chose WhatsApp is clarified in the following figure

57.1% of the responders said that privacy is number one priority. They want to be anonymous and their personal information must be hidden to the eye’s of strangers. They ask for privacy options they can enable or disable by their choice. Since WhatsApp offer these options, it is their choice. However, children and even parents are rarely aware of the potential risks of information disclosure through mobile devices. Personal information, such as real-time locations, photos, and calendar, can be easily leaked via using mobile applications from mobile devices. (Chen Y et.al) They also claim that users’ personal information has been aggressively collected by different parities from mobile devices.

50 percent of the responders said that they prefer WhatsApp because it is easy to use. A friendy user interface make chatting simpler and easier. A chatting app is made to make peoples life easier so it must be, it self, simple.

Security comes in rank 3 of the most important feature in a chatting application. 42.9% of people voted that whatsapp is secure enough to protect them against hackers’ attacks. Worth to mention that whatsapp was not encrypted, and though secure,  until April 2016 (Whatsapp.com).

35.8% said that the popularity of chatting app is the fourth most important feature. No matter how good it is, a messaging app is nothing without plenty of users. Keep in mind that because of the different protocols of chatting apps it is not possible to send a message from a certain app to another. A message must be sent and received by the same app. So 35.8 percent of people

Conclusion

Chatting apps and social media became parts of modern daily life. Nearly 85.7 percent of people are addicted to use their phones and chat more than 4 hours a day. People tend to look for a chatting app that respect their privacy and give them the choice to choose to what extent they are exposed to others. Security is also another important feature people look for. Ease to use and the popularity of chatting apps can make difference on peoples choices. A simple and popular chatting app is always listed as a good choice to use since it will allow the user to chat easily with a huge number of people.

References

  1. Yeboah J, Ewur G. The Impact of whatsApp Messenger Usage on Student’s Performance in Tertiary Institutions in Ghana. In journal of Education and Practice. Vol.5 2014.
  2. Hindocha, N. Instant Insecurity: Security Issues of Instant Messaging. http://www.luisdelgado.es/seguridad/crypt4you/curso_comunicaciones_digitales/documentacion/im_security_issues.pdf . Accessed on 10]112016
  3. Chen, Y. Zhu, S. Zhou, Y. Xu, H. Protecting Children’s Personal Information: Using Contextual Integrity Theory to Examine Information Boundary on Mobile Devices. http://cs-sys-1.uis.georgetown.edu/~sz303/PIR2015/pir_submission/pir2015_submission_6.pdf. Accessed on 20161110.
  4. Dwyer, C. Hiltaz, S. Passerini, K. Trust and Privacy Concern within Social Networking Sites: A Comparison of Facebook and MySpace. http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1849&context=amcis2007 Accessed on 10112016
  5. Schrittwieser, S. Fruhwirt, P. et. al. Guess Who’s Texting You? Evaluating the Security of Smartphone Messaging Applications. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.681.9726&rep=rep1&type=pdf Accessed on 14112016
  6. Jisha K, Jebakumar, Whatsapp: A Trend Setter in Mobile Communication among Chennai Youth. IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS) Volume 19, Issue 9, Ver. VII (Sep. 2014), PP 01-06
  7. Smartphone Application Usage Amongst Students at a South African University, Walter UYS 1 , Aadilah MIA, Gary Jeffrey JANSEN, Haythem VAN DER SCHYFF, Michael Andre JOSIAS, Michelle KHUSU, Muzaffer GIERDIEN, Natacha Andrea LEUKES, Sulungeka FALTEIN, Tejas GIHWALA, Tracey-Lee THEUNISSEN, Yaseen SAMSODIEN. IST-Africa 2012 Conference Proceedings. Paul Cunningham and Miriam Cunningham (Eds) IIMC International Information Management Corporation , 2012
  8. Mayer, R. C., J. H. Davis, and F. D. Schoorman (1995) “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust,” The Academy of Management Review (20) 3, pp. 709-734.
  9. Coppola, N., S. R. Hiltz, and N. Rotter (2004) “Building Trust in Virtual Teams,” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (47) 2, pp. 95-104.
  10. Roloff, M. E. (1981) Interpersonal communication: The social exchange approach. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

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