So as you’ve probably heard, Whatsapp has been acquired by Facebook for $16 billion dollars in cash and stock. I was pretty bullish on this purchase, but it wasn’t too long until the world of Twitter kind of lost their mind about it, so I felt compelled to share my personal experience of Whatsapp on my recent trip to Hong Kong.
1. Everyone and their mom uses Whatsapp
The very first thing that happened when I walked through the terminal doors into the arrival area in the Hong Kong area was my mom took a photo of me to share in her Whatsapp group chat with my aunts and uncles. My mom did that.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Whatsapp is fucking everywhere. I used Whatsapp to communicate to every single person I met in Hong Kong. Classified ads and billboards on the street have Whatsapp numbers listed. It is fucking everywhere.
2. People use voice notes in Whatsapp like a walkie talkie
While people in Hong Kong still talk on the phone, a lot of people are using the voice notes feature in Whatsapp like a walkie talkie. Even I started doing it. Go figure.
3. Whatsapp is so ugly and uncool that old people use it
The main strength of Whatsapp is that it appeals to a demographic outside of the tech savvy 18 to 35 year olds who have already moved on to other chat apps. I saw a crap ton of elderly people using Whatsapp with gigantic fonts on phablets and it ironically did not break the UI of Whatsapp because it’s so crappy to begin with. It’s a solid platform with a crap ton of users and I think that because of it’s wide spread distribution to people who don’t cycle apps too often, it’ll stick around for a while.
Facebook clearly needs to do something with Whatsapp in order to get their money’s worth from this investment. It’s pretty clear that Facebook is buying the user base, but it’ll be cool to see what they do with Whatsapp to try recoop their cash.