‘Network effect’ can eliminate WhatsApp and Trump from the digital world

With everybody on social media today, ‘network effect’ has become highly important to understand. In this article, let’s see if network effect can eliminate WhatsApp and Trump from the social media world or not.

What if I say, experts around the world predict the enormous potential for improved quality of life over the next 50 years for most individuals? All thanks to internet connectivity. We have started living in a google world with the presence of impeccable technology. It was the digital world that saved us during the pandemic that nobody knew how to survive. Today everybody is on the internet. It’s really hard to find a person today who doesn’t use social media platforms for communication.

The use of social media platforms is no more a millennial thing now, almost everybody has a presence on social media today. Everybody you know is on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Instagram. Now it has become a task to not be on these social media platforms because everyone is on it, and in order to make your presence and get noticed it’s important to be on these platforms. It’s not just these social media platforms but OTT platforms have also created a wave for themselves and have set off a new digital trend.

Netflix and Amazon prime are now an important part of our lives. Our day-to-day conversations are dependent on the new web-series that we have just watched. It is necessary to be on these platforms nowadays, otherwise, we feel alienated. Have you ever thought, why?

This is all because of the “network effect”. The network effect is a phenomenon where increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of goods or services. It is therefore that every social media platform present in the digital space strives for more and more users. This is because the network effect can not only lead to an improved experience as more people participate but can also encourage new participants as they look to benefit from the network.

Network Effect explained:

Network effects can be found throughout social media. Many digital platforms are working on the technique of network effect and using it to their benefit. The network effect is mainly used as a force to create more and more users to come on a particular platform and this is the reason why new users are termed to be of great value for the platform because they increase the value of the platform making more people join it.  

For example, as more users post content on Twitter such as links and media, the more useful the platform becomes to the public. The network effect has created exponential growth rates for networking platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. The network effect created by WhatsApp is also a major reason for the popularity of the messaging app. The presence of almost everyone on the platforms makes everybody believe that it is important to be on these platforms in order to create communication.

This can be simply understood, if I say, the word “hawa” is basically what we Indians use for the network effect. More the number of people believe in a certain fact or use a particular thing, creates Hawa for that particular thing and that becomes a trend. Simple, isn’t it?

Will WhatsApp survive?

It is no secret that the internet has changed immensely with time. The digital world has seen many platforms coming and going, it’s no new. Replacement is quicker and faster when it comes to the presence of online social media platforms because of the vast number of alternatives that are present.

Recently, WhatsApp is facing a lot of backlash from users over its privacy concerns. The Facebook-owned messaging app has freshly updated its terms of service and privacy policies that say the company will be sharing the commercial user data with its parent company Facebook. This news spread like a wildfire in the digital jungle and people started looking for various alternatives to WhatsApp that are safe and protect their data.

With the availability of apps like Signal and Telegram in the market, users have started to download these applications soon to replace WhatsApp. Since the time WhatsApp has updated its privacy policies, both Signal and Telegram are climbing up the download charts across the world.

There was a time when because of the network effects, WhatsApp has ruled the market and was among one of the favourites of the consumers and users when it comes to online chatting and messaging. But with the new terms and policies of WhatsApp, several users are thinking if they should still remain on the platform or should make their exit.

Will you remember Trump?

It was on January 8, the same day when WhatsApp updated its privacy policy, Twitter indefinitely suspended the account of Donald Trump, the President of the United States. Trump has been always known for his tweets, no matter how sensical or non-sensical they may be. Trump used the social media platform in a way that no figure in American government has ever managed before.

With the no Trump on Twitter, the platform is sure to lose some spice but, there is another question that rises here. Will the world be able to remember Trump if he remains banned from the platform for a longer period of time or forever? Will people forget Trump if he remains farthest from social media especially Twitter?

The answer to this is simple: Absent from sight is soon forgotten. This is all the power of the network effect, if you don’t remain the talk of the town for a longer period of time, then people usually tend to move on and forget you completely. Therefore, it will be absolutely apt to say that the network effect has now grown immensely and nobody is bigger than this phenomenon.

Author: Mahima Joshi

Mahima Joshi is a writer at The Wonk. She is a postgraduate in Journalism, who is just curious about everything that is happening around. She is an enthusiastic reader especially concerning gender dynamics in mythological stories.

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