As India’s largest telecom companies bitterly admit, their revenue from text messages has dropped dramatically in recent years, thanks to Whatsapp messaging.
A large number of consumers using traditional SMS and MMS to Whatsapp started among the tech-savvy youth and quickly spread to the older population when everyone started realizing the convenience and cost effectiveness of 2G data packs over SMS packs.
All Indians are in awe of the success of Whatsapp which is a locomotive for the sale of smartphones and new technologies in India. Middle-aged and elderly Indians, who are known to be technology and internet averse, have adopted them in droves.
Older people, who do not use any other form of social media, have become active members of Whatsapp family groups, where they chat all day. They probably switched because of the existing presence of a considerable number of “close” connections on Whatsapp.
Whatsapp has revolutionized the cell phone market, Whatsapp has also changed everyday interactions, with roadside vendors and small business owners using it to advertise and images and videos becoming more effective and widespread modes of communication.
The “free” attribute has greatly aided this rapid adoption, as the benefits of advertising have increased as the cost of entry has become almost zero. In addition, adoption was higher than on other social sites due to word-of-mouth advertising among friends and a huge user base, which is similar to what we studied in class regarding close ties.
Additionally, the possibility of easy, on-the-go, uncensored “private digital socialization” seemed attractive to the Indian masses, given that sharing feelings or emotions on a more public platform like Facebook is considered relatively inappropriate. Since all the contacts in a phone’s address book, which are usually weak links, can be sent through Whatsapp, businesses and district administrations have also started preferring it for instant communication and networking.
Thus, the presence of a large number of relatives and weak links on Whatsapp, and its free availability drove Indians to it in hordes and changed their way of communication, and Whatsapp replaced Facebook for Indians!