What Messaging Apps Do SAS Students Use?

Does your ethnicity play a role in which messaging apps you use?

In this era of technological advancement, there are numerous messaging apps that subscribers can choose from. With services such as free calls, instant messaging, and photo sharing, there is no doubt that these apps are on almost every smartphone user’s homepage. A question that has recently been brought to my attention was whether a people’s preference of  messaging apps were influenced by their ethnic group. Does your ethnicity play a role in which messaging apps you use?

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Image from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA). Poster created by Angela Hwang via Canva.

As humans, we naturally tend to do things that help us connect with the people who we find similarities in…

After careful consideration of how I would approach my research, I realized that the population group should be limited to SAS students. The majority of SAS students being Third-Cultured Kids, or TCKs, it is hard to assume that SAS students’ choice in messaging app will be largely influenced by their ethnic groups. In order to truly distinguish this, heavy research has been followed in order to decipher the correlation between ethnicity and student’s preference towards apps. The Eye has gone around and collected data from four big ethnic groups that made up the majority of the SAS population: American (U.S.), South Korean, Chinese, Indian. A total of a hundred people were interviewed for their favorite messenger app and the results are as follows.

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Following graphs were created via onlinecharttool.com

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We compared this data to research from marketingcharts.com, an online website that tracks marketing data, graphics, and analyses. They have been cited by news outlets including Forbes, Fortune, CNBC, MediaPost, Harvard Business Review, AdAge, and Business Insider.

Research which was done by Liron Hakim Bobrov, a Marketing Insights Manager at SimilarWeb who has an MBA in Marketing Management from Tel Aviv University, explains that Facebook Messenger has recently gained traction this year, as it is the top Messaging App in 64 countries. Facebook Messenger has especially blown up in the U.S. with hundreds of millions of avid users.

KakaoTalk, sometimes referred to as KaTalk, is a free mobile instant messaging platform with features including free texting and free calling. “With 10 million users just one month of its launch on May 2017, KakaoTalk became an instant hit among the locals,” explains Alive Studios on an article published by medium.com. Kakaotalk has gained high attention among Koreans through features like emoticons and games that shape the messenger culture of Korea.  Koreans have been active users of emoticons on mobile chats.

With no exaggeration, WeChat has evolved to rule China. In an article by Shannon Liao published on The Verge, Liao explains that WeChat is China’s most popular messaging app, with the company having a close relationship with the Chinese government. The app has been subsidized by the government since 2011 and is used for other utilities from just your standard messaging apps, with options such as paying and shopping.

Recently, a new app that has been gaining lots of attention in India is SHAREit, with 100 million local users in India just a year after its release in 2014. Digital Terminal News Network comments, “With active users operating the app more than five days a week, SHAREit now competes with global giants WhatsApp and Facebook in the country.”

Research leads to the understanding that in SAS, ethnicity has a small influence on people’s preference in messaging apps. A conclusion that can be drawn from this research is that as TCKs in an American international school in Singapore, SAS students are largely influenced by American and Singaporean culture. A small percentage of students, however, indicated that they did use an app that complied with their ethnic country’s most popular app due to reasons such as “family influence” and “friends back home using the app.”

However, if we take into consideration that SAS students are indeed TCKs, we must realize that there is still a positive correlation between people’s race and their favorite apps for texting. Although the association may not be as grand as we may have thought, this discovery further supports the notion of why as humans, we naturally tend to do things that help us connect with the people who we find similarities in.

 Icons taken from flaticon.com. Poster created via Canva.

Author: Angela Hwang

Angela Hwang is a junior at Singapore American School and this is her second year working for The Eye. She is thrilled to return back to journalism and wants to produce more exciting content for the upcoming year. Angela embraces her Korean background, but considers Singapore her home. Her hobbies include taking aesthetic photographs, collecting CDs from her favorite artists, and travelling to some of the most majestic places on earth. She can be contacted at hwang41112@sas.edu.sg.

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