111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

You are what you WhatsApp?

Letters are formal. Texts and chats are informal. Letters and emails are with a subject. Texts are boundaryless. Grammar is part of the formal writing. And too cumbersome for the younger insta generation. Messaging and chatting have taken over face to face communication. Thus the language, styles of communication are really without filters. They are almost spontaneous and top of the mind. That is what makes them an interesting study of the messenger. The social media profiling is getting serious business. The fact that people spend more time on social media than on other medias has interested researchers and data analytics increasingly. This has become a science as more and more marketers are targeting their customers on these findings.

The age old technique of trying to customize products by doing expensive surveys has its limitation. It is expensive. It is time consuming. It is based on general trend of the target market. This was more of a mass marketing approach. Then came the mass customization era where more customers were reached through various research techniques. There was this talk of individual customization that was shrugged off as more of a fantasy. With Facebook data analytics this is almost a reality. Don’t we feel the magical appearance of brands or products that we were looking for appearing on our page? It seems almost as if somebody is reading your mind. Well, almost, thanks to data analytics. The number of customer likes, dislikes are all a matter of a click. The reach of the page is visible by its followers and visitors. What the customer likes in terms of competition is also there. The video content, its depiction, its positives and negatives are there to be analysed. This data then creates individualization opportunities for marketers.

As of 2023, WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messenger app worldwide with approximately two billion monthly active users, outranking WeChat at 1.3 billion users, and Facebook Messenger at 930 million global users.WhatsApp is not really a marketing channel but more of a family and friends channel. That means that the real person is more visible on this channel than the more filtered Facebook and other channels. It is literally loud thinking in text. That is why a lot more attention is needed to create psychological profiles of it. Whatsapp is spontaneous and many times mindless writing. This brings out personality styles of the following kind:

1. The shortcut addicts— They are the younger lot with abbreviations for everything. “how r u” is there maximum range. There texting is effective with their own age group but they find it hard to communicate with older groups who are more wordy and complete in their messages. This can result in serious misunderstandings. For a long time many in the older segment interpreted LoL as lots of love while it actually stands for ‘Laugh out loud’. Imagine the horror of some older person who is thinking kindly about the love being directed at him or her while it turns out to be a joke to laugh upon. This kind of texting is a reflection of a self-focused personality that is not considering the audience of the message. They may be quick to reply but in their mere alphabet texts, they may limit themselves to be able to connect only to their own text-alikes.

2. Texting diarrhoea— Then you have these unending response person. They seem to be unable to control their habit of responding to everything with mindnumbing detail. They will ramble and rant and sometimes mumble as they run out of words, but they will write. Their writing will start with some logic and reference but will become a repetitive bore. Just when you think that the 300-word paragraph has finally ended, another equally agonizing piece will appear. This is texting indigestion that is pouring out a lot of not wanted communication. Such people have personalities that want attention at whatever cost. In real life they may not necessarily be the chatty sort. However, the freedom of being able to write for the sake of writing makes them feel at the center of everything. This type of person is difficult to dislodge even when group admins give repeated warnings about brevity. If not curtailed it can result in more constructive contributors either leaving or choosing to be silent.

3. The know-alls— And then there are the smart alecs. With good background and experience they are authorities on certain topics. Their opinions matter and they know that they know. That knowledge of their own knowledge sometimes becomes a deterrent for a healthy well-rounded discussion. Whenever a relevant topic comes and some relatively new entrant or less of an expert pitches in with a comment, the know-all blows away the comment with elaborate facts and figures. This makes others feel small or know nothings. This creates discouragement of diversity of ideas making the group a monopoly of the few who possess more history and facts on subjects.

4. The non-responding cynics— There is a difference between two-way WhatsApp and group WhatsApp. Many people are bad at group participation but are good individual responders. However, there are those who do not acknowledge and respond unless there is an emergency. While this is a controlled form of communication it also gives an impression of somebody who is too off hand or lazy or just non-committal. To add to this there is niche category of the non-responder who normally keeps quiet but then on a hot debate comes up with very pithy but cutting remarks that express his or her bent of mind. Such people are cynics and look down on the “ordinary” chat going on. They step in when they cannot control their “disgust” on an opposing view. Their toxicity needs to be tolerated only if it is occasional.

Pakistan is a huge market for WhatsApp users. There are approximately 52.3 million users in Pakistan. The free texting, video-sharing and TikTok explosion has made WhatsApp the best communication channel. That is why it is inviting academic and business interest. Psychologist are studying the DP status. The type of DP also gives clues to the type of personality. Tech geeks are forever developing innovations on its business and marketing use. The presence of AI-generated spies or intruders has made the once safe WhatsApp no longer encrypted to prevent information leakage.

WhatsApp-use advice—Join selectively, chat carefully, and comment wisely.

Andleeb Abbas, "You are what you WhatsApp?," Business recorder. 2024-03-27.
Keywords: Media sciences , Social media , Communication channel , Facebook messenger , Whatsapp , TikTok , Pakistan , 2023

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *