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The Affects of TechnologyResearch Paper

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¶ … App Implication on Society

Whatsapp is an internet-based proprietary, cross-platform messaging service that can be used on smart phones and on some models of selected feature phones. The basic utilization of this service is communicating between individuals through messages, images, video and audio media. People would also be able to know the location of the user if allowed by the user.

The company and the smart phone application was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum who were former employees at Yahoo. The Mountain View, California-based company has 6000 million users till October 2014. It is also considered the most popular messaging app globally (Berker).

A number of recent studies have indicated that Whatsapp has become popular among users as it allows better accessibility and greater ease of communicating with each other and since it offers real time messaging. This, according to Plana, Gimeno, and Appel (2013), has given a sense of empowerment along with a sense of belongingness to users that have allowed them to be more sociable through the quick information-sharing by a means that is cost effective (Palna et al.).

A multi-method study by Church and Oliveira (2013) that used 140 respondents in Spain who were between 20 and 60 years found out that convenience in communications and the low costs and cost efficiency are the primary reasons for them using and adopting WhatsApp commonly (Church and Oliviera).

Soliman and Salem (2014) enumerates similar reasons for adopting and using Whatsapp, while they investigated another similar study that was conducted about Whatsapp usage and its motivational factors in Riyadh (Soliman and Salem). The study was conducted on a sample of 450 college students between 18 and 55-year-olds and the group included post-graduate students and members of the faculty. members. Sharing of jokes and funny messages were also the additional reasons that people from a cross section of age adopted Whatsapp, the same study found.

The above can be explained in the light of the theory of Marshall McLuhan which he details in his book 'Understanding Media' (McLuhan) where he says that medium is best understood as a technological "extension" of a human sense. For example, the radio is an extension of hearing and the printed book is an extension of visual sense. In that manner, Whatsappp can be said to be an extension of the sense of view as we read and see messages and pictures.

The communication with others in the virtual space was the primary reason behind the wide use of Whatsapp in the UK as found out by another study involving 20 individuals between the age of 17 and 49 years by O'Hara et al. (2014). The users of Whatsapp obtained a sense of belongingness to the virtual space as well as the feeling of a bond that was secure and committed from the rapid use of this internet-based messaging service. This, the study concluded, was the impact on society due to the use of Whatsapp (O'Hara et al.).

It can also be argued that the hot and cold media theory of McLuhan can be used to explain the popularity of WhatsApp. According to the theory, McLuhan states that the cold medium is more attractive as it leaves a lot of space for participation (McLuhan). According to this concept, Whatsapp would be cold medium as it leaves scope for engagement and therefore people are more attracted to this medium.

Another significant social impact of Whatsapp especially among students was investigated by Bere (2012) among 118 students from the undergraduate level in South Africa. The study found that the messaging service was considered preferred ubiquitous learning through the WhatsApp messaging service as being beneficial to them. Hence one of the impacts of this service is also related to educational gains among a section of students (Bare).

On the flip side, while Whatsapp was found to provide easy communication and even educational advantages in a section of students, a study by Yeboah and Ewur (2014) on the performance of students in the tertiary institutions in Ghana found out that there were several negative impacts of the use of Whatsapp. These impacts included distraction from studies and other assignments that were completing, the proper use of language, spellings and grammars was affected and there was a general lack of focus towards lectures (Yeboah and Ewur).

It is but appropriate here to mention the concepts of Neil Postman who asserts that modern media is more about entertainment and less about information. Citing the presentation of television news, he argues that TV news is "a form of entertainment programming: and not information. Therefore, while modern messaging services like Whatsapp is claimed to be providing knowledge through information, it is nothing but a form of entertainment (Postman). This is the reason of its popularity and has the impact of fooling the society into thinking that they are getting information when they are only being served entertainment.

A study that was aimed to explore the advantages and the negative impacts from the use of WhatsApp messaging that happened with the reading skills in English where it is treated as a foreign language by Plana, Gimeno and Appel (2013). The study concluded that on one side the rampant use of Whatsapp had increased the confidence level and interest in the reading of English through WhatsApp messages (O'Hara et al.).

Another study by Devi and Tevera (2014) found that applicaiotns like Whatsapp and Facebook were regularly used for communication and information sharing about academic topics (Devi and Tevera).

According to Bere, (2012), WhatsApp is often used as medium to gain identity. The group texting ability allowed by Whatsapp helps in shaping the way one perceives oneself was well as the manner in which one is perceived.

Whatsappp as a means of easy and comfortable messaging at low cost has resulted in influenced intimacy. According to Yeboah and Ewur, (2014), this medium also allows numerous people to flirt or even connect with lovers given the ease and cost effectiveness of the medium. Like other social media applications and odes, Whatsapp has influence over the privacy of people as this medium has been cited in many divorce proceedings (Yeboah and Ewur).

Given the popularity of Whatsapp among the user has also given it a near monopolized status. Together with Facebook, it can be said hat they control the entire virtual world of chatting and information sharing. This according to Ben H. Bagdikian, is not beneficial to society. I his book 'The New Media Monopoly', Bagdikian stresses on the media cartels that are formed by big media houses and how they are able to influence the society -- as was evident in the U.S. during the 1980s and 1990s (Bagdikian and Bagdikian). In this light it can be said that Whatsapp having a majority control over internet chatters, has the power to create impressions in the society which is not good for the society.

However, the most profound impact of Whatsapp on society is that it has been able to connect a large number of people thus enhancing the communicated society that is the characteristic of this age.

The negative impact of the medium on society is that is induces a culture of instant gratification and Whatsapp is able to influence what people think and how they act (Carr 3). This medium helps to increase the expectations where people expect more in less time.

The sharing of information on Whatsapp is a chance for advertisers who often use various tools to gather information about users by tracking the movements of online users. This is reiterated by Joseph Turow, in his book 'The Daily You', where Turow concludes that users need to be more informed and learned about the medium they use so that they are able to know the tools that advertisers use to tap information (Turow). The impact is the users are made to see themselves as the advertisers want them to see.

Research Question

This study is concentrating on the impacts that Whatsapp has on the society as a whole and that should include members of all sections of the society including people of all ages -- students, career oriented people and older people. The impacts that are to be found out should impact both aspects -- personal and on the general population. Hence the research questions would be as follows

1) How does Whatsapp impact a person's social behavior of an individual?

2) How does Whatsapp impact students and their behavior?

3) What are impacts on the personality of an individual by Whatsapp?

Research method

This study primary used qualitative approach where the primary source of information would be of secondary nature. Thus study examined the previous researches that have been done on this topic earlier that deal with impact on particular sections of the society.

The study examined the previous literature and studies done earlier and the try and find out a definite line of similarity about the impact of Whatsapp on the various sections of the society. The… [END OF PREVIEW]

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