I just turned forty a few weeks ago. Now, this does not bother me one bit, the alternative, well, that would be death. I have few regrets as well; I have seen 55 countries and lived many lives. The only things that I wish I had done before 40? I wish that I could I have handcuffed someone to a steam radiator, and I wish that I could have used one of those cool inflatable slides to get off an airplane. End of the day it is probably better that I have done neither. The former often carries jail time, and the latter generally means you have been involved in a plane crash. What I realized in this milestone birthday is that I sit equidistant between 60 and 20 and comfortably know that I feel much closer to the older group on that list. What is frightening is that, despite the fact that I cover tech news, I feel closer to those 35 years older than me than I do those 25 years younger. I don’t know anything about 15 year old kids. I would like to think that friends I had in high school, now have high school aged children, yet, they find themselves in the same boat as me.
Imagine my surprise when I read today in a piece at VentureBeat.com, that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is losing teenagers to mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and SnapChat. I do this for a living and I’ve never heard of the last two and I haven’t even mentioned Asia or MessageMe, or…you get the point.
“True interactions are conversational in nature,” says Rich Miner, a partner at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Ventures who invested in San Francisco-based MessageMe, a new entrant in the messaging market. “More people text and make phone calls than get on to social networks. If one company dominates the replacement of that traffic, then by definition that’s very big.”
Apparently, phones are still be used as phones, smart or otherwise.
I recently read the story of a 15 year old high-school student who claims that Kik “blew up” among his friends about six months ago, he loves it because it allows him the ability to send multimedia from numerous platforms free of charge. He says he uses it about 200 times a day.
“We also stay up in bed with our phone all night, just on YouTube searching for funny videos, then you quickly share it with your friends,” he added. “It’s easy. You can flip in and out of Kik.”
Meanwhile, Asian companies are producing some of the fastest-growing apps in history. Tencent’s WeChat boasts 400 million users – far more than Twitter, by way of comparison – while LINE and KakaoTalk claim 120 million and 80 million users, respectively. Both have laid the groundwork to expand into the U.S. market.
There is little question that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) still owns desktop social but with more and more flocking to mobile messaging and sharing, how long can Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) simply compete by acquisition?