So, it was big news that Facebook bought Whatsapp 2 days ago.
Wow, my calculator does not even allow me to enter that many digits. Not that I have to.
That was exciting news. It is exciting to see what the tech companies are doing to one another and how the scene is changing. I wonder how those digits came up and is it really justified? Well, I’m sure Mark has his homework done. They also bought Instagram, but since I am not a user of it, it does not affect me.
As a consumer, I am not elated. To begin with, I’m not even a heavy user of Whatsapp. In a week, I probably send about 10 personal messages, or even less. Did I just hear you shout “ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?????”. Perhaps.
Whatsapp is a communication tool to me, just like SMS and making phone calls. However, the numerous times that the messages are sent and received late has put me off. The frequent updates they have for the app (not that I see it has improved much) makes me even more irritated.
For personal use, I stick to SMS mostly for time-sensitive messages, and Whatsapp is for the doesn’t-matter-even-if-you-don’t-see-it messages or when I want to send photos. In fact, I was telling my handful of Whatsapp “partners” that I will likely be uninstalling the app in a few month’s time, when they start asking me to pay. A dollar is a low price to pay. But for something that I do not use, I’ll pass and save that space for something else. Besides, people who need to find me can do so in other ways.
These days, I use Viber. Mainly because there is a desktop version that is so convenient (I do not have to log in or out) and it synchronises with my phone automatically. A bigger reason is that I type much faster on the computer keyboard than on the phone. Oh, did I mention the cute stickers? Overall, it’s a more enjoyable experience.
Back to Facebook buying Whatsapp. How do you think they are going to earn back the money? Ads? I guess so. Or in-app purchases? Maybe. With the ads strategy that Facebook is doing, I’m not optimistic about it, from both the perspective of a consumer and advertiser.
I have also observed many people “liking” pages very casually and I wonder why they do that. Do they realise they do not actually see the posts of many of the pages they have “liked”? I wonder how many people actually housekeep their Facebook accounts? I for one do that diligently and regularly. My contacts are added to lists I have created and not everyone sees the same things. I also “like” pages only when I really like the brand/product and that I really want to hear updates from them. Often, we have to “like” a page to join a contest or lucky draw. If I have to do that, I will “unlike” the page when the contest is over. I guess my OCD extends to “virtual clutter” that I like to minimise.
Whatsapping, Facebooking etc, they are supposed to facilitate communication and socialisation. Yet, it is precisely all these “tech” stuff that sucks more of our personal time. I am guilty of playing the silly games on Facebook. I play just 1 game, but it’s enough to suck a lot of time and I consciously know it. It’s a common sight to see people stuck to their handphones, either playing games or sending a message. What I do not understand is do they have to do it even when the idle time is like 5 seconds?? I am not exaggerating by saying 5 seconds. For me, I do not spend a lot of time on my phone on social media. I do not even login to Facebook on my phone because I do not see a need to, and I do not have that many friends to entertain me with idle messages just to fill up time.
But these apps and Facebook thingys, if you think about how they have almost totally transformed the way we communicate, it is really an amazing phenomenon. In fact, it is beyond amazing. The world changed. What’s to come will be even more interesting, I think.