Can WhatsApp be considered Social media?
Maybe you have an argument with someone — someone says WhatsApp is a social media, and someone else says no. Or maybe you want to know what category the app can be categorized in. There is a lot of confusion about whether WhatsApp can be considered as “Social Media” or not .
Sometimes, an app can be classified into many different categories. For example, a game can be categorized as both “Fun” and “Action”. This depends on the main purpose of the application including the related fields. In this case, WhatsApp can be used for many purposes, so it is not just a messaging app. In this article, you will learn how WhatsApp can be considered a social media or not in terms of its features.
What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp is a messaging app developed by Brian Acton and Jan Koum (former employees of Yahoo).
Launched in the App Store back in August 2009 and Google Play Store in 2010.
In February 2013, WhatsApp hit 200 million active users and the company is valued at $ 1.5B after closing the Series B and Sequoia rounds in July. A year later, Facebook acquires WhatsApp for $ 19B (its largest acquisition to date).
Currently, WhatsApp is used by more than 2B users worldwide as a means of communicating via messaging and media.
Is WhatsApp considered a social media?
Yes, WhatsApp can be considered a social media because of its various social media features – messaging, profile creation, photo/video sharing, status updates, news, and more. WhatsApp is used by more than a billion users every month to send messages, photos/videos, etc. With its extensive social features, WhatsApp can be considered a communication platform. In short, WhatsApp is a messaging/social networking app that falls under the category of social media.
By definition, social media allows users to express themselves by sharing photos, videos, ideas, information, etc.
WhatsApp features allow you to do all those things.
There are many types of social media platforms – social networks, social media, review sites, etc.
Social media is the main category, and everything that falls under it is the second category. In this case, the basic category of WhatsApp is social media, while the second category is WhatsApp / messaging.
In other words, social networking is a subset (sub-category) of social media. Overall, WhatsApp can be considered social media.
Let’s go into all its social aspects in detail.
First, WhatsApp enables users to send messages to each other. This is a key feature of WhatsApp that makes it easy to connect with friends and family. Back in 2015, WhatsApp introduced voice and video streaming. This has allowed users to call others (even if they are in another country) for free without limiting the minutes of their mobile system. In addition, WhatsApp has a group chat feature where 256 users can be added to the group. This makes it easier for people to send messages and share media (photos/videos) with a large group of people. With its messaging / calling features, and the ability to share media with a large group of people, WhatsApp can be considered as a social media.
2. Photo Profile
Similar to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, you can set your profile picture on WhatsApp. The ability to set your profile picture is important in social media. This allows people to see what you look like in person, which will make the conversations more real. On the other hand, if you talk to someone without a profile picture, it will appear as if you do not own it. You can also view other people’s profiles by tapping on them.
If you do not want everyone to see your profile picture, there is a privacy feature that allows you to hide it from people who are not on your contacts list.
With the ability to set a profile picture and view profiles, WhatsApp can be considered a means of communication.
3. Sharing photos and videos
social media enables people to easily share content with others. Unlike social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, you cannot share photos directly to your WhatsApp profile. However, you can share photos and videos via text messages. When you chat with someone on WhatsApp, you can send them photos/videos from your camera roll. Sharing media is easy – tap on the camera icon, go to your camera roll and select the photo/video you want to send. You can also share photos/videos with a large number of people at once while in a group.
Since WhatsApp gives you the ability to easily send photos/videos to an individual or group, it is considered social media.
4. Sharing status
WhatsApp is also known for sharing status. Users can set a status on their profile to let others know how they are feeling, what they are doing right now, to share a rating, etc.
To set status, go to your WhatsApp profile> about> change your status.
You can use WhatsApp pre-configured settings or type your own. Statuses are a means of expression , which is also a means of communication.
For example, if your phone’s battery is running low and you do not have a charger available, you can change your status to “Battery will soon die”. This is to let others know that you are not intentionally avoiding messages. Instead, your phone may already be dead by the time someone looks at your condition.
On February 24, 2017, WhatsApp introduced a new feature that allows users to share “stories” on their profiles. Prior to that, users could only share text conditions.
You can add a story to WhatsApp by going to your status> add to my status> camera> take a photo/video.
Alternatively, you can add an existing photo/video from your camera roll or GIF to your status. The feature is similar to Instagram and Snapchat news where users can share missing photos / videos to their profiles. Photos/videos that you share your status will disappear in 24 hours.
All in all, the news gives you the opportunity to share moments of your day with your friends and family, which is a form of communication.
Is WhatsApp the best social media?
WhatsApp has more than 2B users active every month since March 2020. This makes it the most popular social network in the world.
Here’s why WhatsApp is one of the best social networking apps:
- No fees: Free text messages and calls.
- End Encryption: Secure messages.
- Media sharing: Easily share photos/videos.
- Group chats: Join or create groups to chat with a large number of people at once.
- Contact synchronization: Easily connect with people in your list of contacts who have installed WhatsApp.
With these features in mind, WhatsApp is the most popular online communication option right now.
WhatsApp is not just a fast messaging platform as it uses social media concepts in its features.
It can be used for many other things like adding photo/video images, sending media, and voice calling.
So, the next time someone disagrees with the fact that WhatsApp is a social media tool, argue with these few questions:
Can you share photos and videos on WhatsApp with others?
Can you express yourself on WhatsApp via text?
If their answer is yes, then WhatsApp is a social media platform.
Social media, by definition, enables people to express themselves by sharing photos, videos, ideas, information, etc.
Since WhatsApp allows you to do all these things, it can be categorized as social media.