Beatboxers of the World Unite: How WhatsApp Fosters Creativity Across the Globe
WhatsApp - a service that allows users to send and receive text, image, audio and video messages through the internet - has been in the news ever since Facebook announced plans to acquire the 55 employee company (and its IP) for an astonishing US $19 billion on February 20th, 2014.
WhatsApp reportedly has more than 400 million users around the world.
As someone who is already hooked on sending video and audio messages, I understand why Facebook wanted a proven tool with a large (and growing) base of users.
(WhatsApp's technology is cool - although in China there are powerful rivals including the great service I use to communicate with friends in mainland China and around the world, WeChat.)
I know there are many skeptics about the price Facebook paid for WhatsApp. And valuing these services is not my area of expertise. Recently former secretary of labor (under President Clinton), Robert Reich lamented that WhatsApp will not create many jobs and therefore contributes little to an "economy [that] cannot generate enough demand to sustain itself." If Robert Reich is unimpressed by stories (like this one from the Mumbai Mirror) about heart patients who have benefited from the report-sharing enabled by WhatsApp - where first responders can instantly send electrocardiogram pictures of patients who’ve suffered heart attacks to specialists - the benefits to the beatboxing community featured in the video above probably won't change his mind.
But it may give you a sense of how WhatsApp works...
Many thanks to Ian Ginn for sharing the Slate video above of Kaila Mullady (a wildly talented American beatboxer, see the video of her competing below) demonstrating how she uses WhatsApp to send ideas to French beatboxers Alem and BMG.