Is WhatsApp social media?

Seems a simple question with a simple outcome. On a personal level, it is yes or no. But after a coffee table conversation on this topic with a good friend, it turned out that I thought WhatsApp is a connectivity app, and she thought WhatsApp to be a social medium.

Is WhatsApp social media?
Is WhatsApp a messaging tool or is it social media?

To research a bit more I did a poll on Twitter with this question, it turned out exactly half of the audience thought WhatsApp to be a social medium and the other half not! Almost exactly 50/50.

Social networking versus Social media

Now I read this interesting and thought-provoking article by Ian Bogost in The Atlantic titled The Age of Social Media Is Ending. And next to a very critical view on social media, he makes a strong separation between Social Networking and Social Media.

And now the misunderstanding on WhatsApp is clearer to me. It started out as Social Networking, but mainly because of groups it evolved to being more like Social Media. This is a really helpful and I flipped sides. I now also see WhatsApp as social media.

The benefit of this knowledge? I can treat WhatsApp as such, change my etiquette and ignore messages in WhatsApp more. Maybe that works for you as well 😄

I attached the article, it is absolutely worth reading.

The Age of Social Media Is Ending
It never should have begun.
Signal rivals WhatsApp
So now and again people ask me to message through Signal rather than through WhatsApp. The argument is that Signal Messenger is more private, but how would it be more private? And how does Signal rival WhatsApp?