Is WeChat the future of social media?
Over the past couple of years, WeChat has made headlines for being China’s Solution to social media by taking it to the next level. Essentially, WeChat is an All-in-one social media app that allows you to do everything from messaging friends to purchasing movie tickets.
What is WeChat?
As I briefly mentioned in the introduction, WeChat is so much more than a social media app. It allows you to do pretty much anything. The versatility of the app is what has made it one of the top grossing apps in China over recent years. In the sense of tradition social media, WeChat has that feature. You have a social feed where you can keep up with friends, post pictures use direct messaging.
Now, this is where it sways from traditional social media. As well having the features listed above, it is so much more than that. There is a feature called WeChat Pay. WeChat Pay allows you to pay with your phone, but it isn’t contactless. All it takes is the scanning of a QR code which will complete the payment. Whether you need bread and milk, or a brand new TV, WeChat Pay allows you to pay for it without your wallet (or the need for Apple/Google pay).
But wait, there’s more. As well as being able to chat with friends and pay for your shopping, WeChat allows you to book services inside the app. From movie tickets to taxi’s, you can book it all. WeChat is essentially an all-in-one app that allows you to do most, if not all of your day-to-day digital tasks inside of one app.
How Does WeChat Benefit us now?
As of yet, WeChat doesn’t directly affect us as it is only available in China. With that being said, I personally believe that there is a lot of development going on behind the scenes to bring our social media platforms up to par with WeChat. As I previously mentioned, WeChat doesn’t directly benefit us yet. The key word being “yet”, however, WeChat is a big platform and is used by 900+million people in China. To put that into perspective, almost 70% of China use WeChat and that kind of attention doesn’t go unnoticed. I believe that Silicon Valley wants to replicate that kind of audience for their own platforms.
How Will WeChat Benefit us in the future?
As we have discussed, WeChat isn’t available outside of China, and frankly it probably never will be. However, the tech guru’s over in Silicon Valley have WeChat in their radar with all the traction it has been gaining. There is also a lot of potential in most, if not all the features in WeChat. For Example, being able to purchase movie tickets or book a taxi is quite a valuable feature. Imagine being able to browse your social feed and then being able to book your movie from inside the same app. Let’s not forget to mention you can order your transport to the movie theatre & pay for your snacks all within 1 single app. That versatility is exactly why I believe that other Social platforms may try to imitate this and incorporate it into their app.
How Will Social Media Evolve?
Have you noticed that Facebook now has a TV feature? Or that YouTube has suddenly improved their instant messaging. Maybe you’ve seen Twitch add a subscription service and then YouTube followed shortly after with YouTube Red. The point that I am trying to make is that separately these apps work very well, and they have worked very well for the past 10 years. How do they evolve though? Well, they’re always in a state of evolution, trying to beat their competitors, but what happens when you run out of Unique Selling Points? That’s when you start to see all of these platforms start to take inspiration off one another and incorporate similar features to their platform. I believe in the next 5 to 10 years, all of the major social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc will all be the same, or at least very similar. Mr Zuckerberg has always been a man to scout potential, that’s why he bought Instagram as quickly as it started. I reckon that he has his eyes on the possibility that comes with the features of WeChat and will add such features to Facebook and Instagram to boost their user base.
In Conclusion, social media, in general, is slowly evolving to become very similar to one another. I strongly believe that there is an enormous amount of potential in WeChat that can’t go unseen. I do, however, understand that it isn’t as black and white as I have made out. There are various factors that could affect whether or not social platforms will take inspiration from WeChat. With that being said, I think it would benefit the billions of social media users to have an all-in-one app that would act as an entire app store.