WhatsApp – Social Media App Analysis

In the social media context, WhatsApp was founded relatively late, in 2009, by Brian Acton and Jan Koum. It has since rapidly grown and has become very popular, with over two billion active users currently. After the beta stage of the application, it was first exclusively launched on the iPhone App Store in November 2009, where the founders launched it as an alternative to sending SMS nationally and internationally. The creators later added support for other operating systems like Android, Windows, Blackberry, and Symbian. Koum and Acton worked for free and looked for external funding; however significant costs led them to change the business model to a paid one ($0.99 for sending verification texts to users.) A novel feature of sending photos was introduced to the application, and user numbers sky-rocketed. In February of 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp from its founders for a massive $19 billion and altered the business model by later introducing WhatsApp for Business. 

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The initial developers had created this phone number-based messaging App for simple communication; nevertheless, it took over the internet like wildfire. Due to its popularity, the developers have kept on upgrading more features on WhatsApp. Apart from the messaging features, other features have made WhatsApp remain in the competition, they include the ability to format and send a single text to multiple contacts at once, help save data when using mobile networks, control privacy, share documents, make voice and video calls, use WhatsApp on one’s personal computer and even block spam and people.

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Behavioral patterns connected to the use of WhatsApp are referred to as WhatsApp Use Behaviour (WUB). The behavior can be productive or non-productive. According to Pramod 2016, non-productive patterns or addictive behavior are linked to high WhatsApp use. WhatsApp’s most significant advantage has been to help people connect socially in real-time using a cross-platform phone messenger using one’s data plan. It helps in reducing costs, especially when parties are in different countries. The wide adoption of WhatsApp attributed to better accessibility, ease of communication, empowerment sense of sociability and belongingness, gratification, speedy information sharing, and cost-benefit.  A combination of all these with user-friendly features meant the promotion of user behavioral intentions and attitudes to embracing WhatsApp. The App has considerably advanced communication technology.

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The Technology Acceptance Model can be utilized to incorporate theory and research on acceptance of information technology. The model predicts acceptance, adoption, and utilization of information technology. The approach has comprehensive efforts to express the vital psychological aspects of technology use (Marangunić, 2015). Two variables can be utilized in articulating the factors of WhatsApp acceptance, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness. The Technology Acceptance Model is miserly but strong in explaining particular information system and technology.   When utilized with its derivatives, the theory can express essential psychological aspects linked to the use of technology.

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 WhatsApp communication technology was confidently connected to successful interpersonal communications. Matassi et al. (2019) argued that WhatsApp presents fresh opportunities for intimate communications otherwise unavailable for other channels like face-to-face or synchronous communication. One study by Techno Metrica found that about 50% of their respondents claimed to spend more time on raising business profits due to their usage of mobile apps. Apart from that, WhatsApp reinforced people to compile extremely passionate subjective messages while eliminating the social anxiety that usually existent in face-to-face communication (Waterloo, 2018). The Technology Acceptance Model has in the past been used in particular fields in comprehending personal acceptance of IT and can be used to explain the use of WhatsApp relating to the theory of Reasoned Action. The model supports that perceived usefulness and ease of use of technology such as WhatsApp affects the user’s behavioral intention. A study on instant messaging LINE in 2016 by Rick Aditya in Indonesia reinforced a significant link between these two variables and behavioral choices. Perceived usefulness was linked to user behavioral attitude, and perceived ease of use affected perceived usefulness. The study’s justification was that if WhatsApp promotes an individual’s work, then this will be seen as an incentive by the individual to make more use of WhatsApp since a positive relationship helps gain performance.

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Altogether, using WhatsApp might have an addictive effect. Over usage and inappropriate utilization of WhatsApp have been reported, noticeably among students. Knowledgeably or innocently, they become addicted to this communication technology. They feel the urge to significantly use the App for an increased amount of time, affecting punctual carrying out of life’s responsibilities and causing a struggle in occupational and social activities. This may cause social, psychological, and even physical problems.

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The Technology Acceptance Model used best measures the mobile instant messaging application and technology acceptance. The paper identifies the relationship between using WhatsApp and behavioral intentions of individuals.  A strong association was found on purpose of using WhatsApp on perceived usefulness, and also associated ease of use. This App can be utilized by organizations to make employees enjoy their work and increase productivity while increasing their IT skills.

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