I am not a geek. I’m just another 41 year old user.
And the news of Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp totally makes sense to me.
I’ve read all the tech blogs and publications. People discussing per user value, loss of privacy, FB paid way too much, what’s Snapchat worth now and so on. To be honest, their job is to analyze. But they’re all too busy looking at the number: $19 billion. For the vast majority of users who are just that, users, it’s not a big deal. Just another day in the Silicon Valley bubble.
I’m an FB user and a Page manager. I love Facebook. What drives me nuts is their algorithm changes every Monday and Thursday, meaning that whatever strategy you planned to increase reach, it’s back to the drawing board. Frustrating. But as a user, I still LOVE the platform…and so do all of my friends and family. And more than 1 billion people worldwide. And growing.
When FB acquired Instagram, I remember all the doomsday blog posts about how FB would somehow screw it up and users would flee for competing apps. On the day they were purchased in April 2012, they announced that Instagram had 30 million accounts set up. Almost 18 months later, the company announced they had over 150 million monthly active users.
Know why? Because users like myself enjoy it. And when it comes to purchases, FB is looking at us, the users, to determine their purchasing strategy. They’d have to be a little stupid to mess it up and ruin the user experience. Because then users will flee for another app. There’s always another app.
If FB is all about sharing updates- text, photos or videos- with friends, then purchasing Whatsapp makes perfect sense. It’s a mobile offshoot of FB and allows FB to potentially tap in to new users.
I was not a Whatsapp user until recently, as my kids forced me to install it. “It’s what all the cool kids are using.” Again, I’m 41. But if the kids ask… The user experience? Great. Easy to use. Fast. Reliable. And that’s what FB saw: users who are enjoying the platform. If they’re happy and using Whatsapp to share, then it makes perfect sense for FB to buy in and keep everyone under their umbrella.
I could of course speculate that FB had seen a decrease in usage of their Instant Message service and attributed it to Whatsapp, which triggered the purchase talks. But I’ll leave that to the tech bloggers.
The price? Users could care less. We’re in it to message with friends and family. At most, it costs $1 per year. Seems fair to us, especially considering how FB is turning their platform into paid reach to increase Likes and shares.
Is this the end? Doubt it. I’d guess FB makes another big purchase in the video niche, to complement text (Whatsapp) and pictures (Instagram). Would make complete sense, no matter the price.
But for people like me, just another user, we read the news, saw the purchase price, gasped for a second…and moved on. We’re happy with the Whatsapp user experience and really don’t care who their new overlord is.
Read my last post: The Very Fine Print