WhatsApp, WeChat and co gain from Facebook's teens problem

When Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg decided to go down the mobile path, he was on the right one. However, training its focus on the mobile experience heavily


When Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg decided to go down the mobile path, he was on the right one. However, training its focus on the mobile experience heavily hasn’t seemed to pay off for Facebook just yet, especially when it comes to teenagers. The younger audience is leaving Facebook for greener pastures – messaging apps on mobile phones.

Facebook recently announced – rather grudgingly – that it has been seeing a decrease in daily use amongst teenagers. Essentially, even while teenagers still have a Facebook account, they prefer to spend time elsewhere rather than on the social network. A report by The Guardian has now revealed that Facebook’s loss seems to be the gain of cross-platform messaging applications like WhatsApp, WeChat and KakaoTalk.

 WhatsApp, WeChat and co gain from Facebook's teens problem

The mobile is where the party's at (Image credit: Getty Images)

 

With Facebook’s growth spreading far and wide, parents and relatives have made their way into the cool populace, triggering a mass exodus of youngsters from the social networking website. The party now seems to be on the mobile phones. With messenger applications, talking and IM becomes free, turning them into enemies of not just service providers but also social networking websites.

The report lays down some valid reasons for messengers trumping social networks like Facebook these days. Firstly, it is private. You need not worry about the whole world knowing about what you’re doing and there are definitely no parents to worry about. Secondly, they revolve around one-to-one contacts, the “selfie” being an important part of this. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat are thriving because of the need to post self clicked pictures and yet keeping them private.

Another major reason is the fact that these cross-platform messaging applications are mini-social networks in their own rights. Apps like KakaoTalk, WeChat and Line have features beyond IM. Some allow you to make friends with people using the same application nearby and some allow you to host a profile with stories that can be shared with all your contacts. Gaming and stickers are yet another reason why cross-platform messaging is seeing a pretty big boom period right now.

WhatsApp is probably the only exception to this rule. The app concentrates solely on IM with slight additions like group chat and voice messaging thrown in. The plafrom does not come with a social angle, yet is seeing Facebook users flock to it. It’s a peculiar pattern but it seems to look like messaging is where the fun-folks are headed to. It’s only a matter of time before parents and people from the older generation follow suit, but Facebook has finally taken a hard hit. Will Facebook turn into an eventual Orkut and Myspace? Maybe, but it’s a long way away. Meanwhile, these apps with no certain future are making hay while the sun shines.


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