How Many Teens Are Using WhatsApp?

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Research Principal Researcher danah boyd discusses teens use of messaging apps and social media on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

Country for the last seven or eight years talking to teenagers.

How does whatsapp compared to instagram, snap chat, facebook, twitter?

Teens are using different applications for different purposes.

We have seen the messaging emerged as a way to talk with a smaller group of friends.

It's a way of sharing messages and photos and videos.

In many ways, it builds off of sms.

Everywhere ultimate world, it has been around a long time.

And united states, texting has been relatively new.

It is consummate think it but it's not quite the same as what we see around the globe.

What does this mean for the snap chat sub world?

Young people are using these services differently.

We are seeing a proliferation of different tools used by different friendships for different purposes.

The same teens that use snap chat make something ephemeral or make a joke or make it right now and are turning to messaging apps like whatsapp to talk with a larger group of people but they are using multiple tools and still taking photos and putting them on instagram which are different than facebook.

It's a funny moment because rather than a one-size-fits-all tool, we are seeing tools proliferate in ways that allow for new kinds of opportunities to interact with new groups of people.

That's what's happening now but what happens five years from now?

What we will do is try to find ways to communicate one-on-one with people we care about in small groups and with larger audiences.

We will communicate interests we are passionate about whether it is one direction or the latest video we see on youtube.

I think it was a rare era where everything was consolidated into one service.

I think the more obvious way going forward is that it will be tons of different services, many of which will be mobile first.

What about some secret apps?

There was news about gwyneth paltrow.

It is the desire to pay attention to gossip and see what is going on, the idea that your and my tell you something but you're not sure who it is.

The secret type apps are an extension of what we saw previously with services like assetfm where you want to know what is going on in your world and hear the things that nobody will share.

They will only threw do it through anonymity.

You know it is somebody close to you and that's what makes a delightful.

It's also a fun place to game.

People are posting things that may or may not be real and that's part of the fun.

Are teenagers really using these apps?

They are experimenting.

There is not a one size fits all.

Even with messaging, we are seeing whatsapp but we also see kick and all these different services being explored and experimented with not just by country but also by teen groups.

The same is true for photo sharing apps or communication secret tools.

They are using them but it's not like it's everyone.

Does facebook have a teen problem?

It's like saying does e-mail have an adult problem?

There was a day when you got mail was an exciting moment.

You are really passionate about what might appear in your mail.

For teens, they think of facebook is the passionate place for the hangout with their friends.

It's the place where they get the contact number of their friend from school.

Or they figure out how to share a photo they want everyone to see or the contact an adult with in the school context.

They are still using it but it's not like the passion play.

In your book, what surprised you most?

You know this more than anyone but what surprised you?

The thing that amazed me -- i thought the internet was going to magically transform so many aspects of teen life.

When i got on the ground talking to teens, i realized they were doing the same things they always were.

What ends up happening is they got inflected in different ways.

It became more visible.

As a result, adults spent time looking at what they could see and panicking.

I thought it was interesting to figure out how to tell the story of young people to show what they were doing was the same thing they have always been doing, hanging out, socializing, gossiping, flirting.

I had a panic attack when i think about growing up in a world where facebook exists.

Down the line, a few years from now, what do you think teens are going to be using?

Will it be vastly different?

I think we will see iterations of new technology.

I don't think we are near done.

Certain things are here to stay.

Like the ability to use a device that is in your pocket to connect with your friends.

The ability to hang out with your friends wherever you go, that will stay.

I don't know what exact tool they will be using but the bigger question is -- how do we fit it in within the broader than amex of teen sociability?

We told teens they cannot hang out in public places and as a result, they are using social media to fill that yeah so how do we make certain they get back into the physical world and have the freedoms we hope they would have to be a part of outlook life?

Danah boyd, the author of

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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