What does Fotchbook’s intended purchase of WhatsApp tell you about the state of online media? A $16 billion dollar purchase, BTW. It tells me social networking is alive and well (that’s where the money’s coming from) but it also points to the big growth of messaging. And what is messaging? It is a more private version of communicating. The privacy “issue” is not only a political warm potato, it’s a key behavioral care-about.
Social networking has been growing like a dookie until recently but, lately, cool messaging apps (w/ pics, etc.) are the countervailing nemesis. Social networks are how you make new friends and extend your reach of friends. Messaging is how you keep them. Facebook, I suspect, is seeing less daily traffic on a per person basis and is asking where the minutes are going. (Did I just say minutes?) Well, they are going to chat. Ergo 16 big candles are going to WhatApp to help stem traffic loss.
Another thing I love about WhatsApp is the $1.00 a year usage fee. It is a kind of micro transaction I’ve been anticipating for years and one that will take hold of the web in an accelerating fashion.
So here’s the implication, care about privacy. Care about adding value to friendships. And care about making a little money by charging a little at scale. Peace.