You’re familiar of course with the major popular mobile social apps from Facebook to Twitter, from Instagram to Snapchat, and from WhatsApp to Skype. However, there are five social apps at the end of the list (among those with at least two million monthly U.S. users) you may or not be familiar with. While much smaller in size compared to other social apps, they have huge global audiences, and are now growing rapidly in the U.S. Many are certainly creating a lot of “buzz.” So, we’ve counted down these rapidly growing mobile social apps as follows:
#5 WeChat (2.16 Million U.S. Monthly Users)
WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. It was first released in 2011 and became one of the world’s largest standalone mobile apps in 2018, with over 1 billion monthly active users. The core function of WeChat is its messaging function: sending free messages to phone contacts that also use WeChat. In this sense, WeChat is very similar to WhatsApp, allowing users to transfer pictures, videos or speech, and enabling group chat. … Like WhatsApp, WeChat allows users to send each other emoticons.
#4 LINE (2.51 Million U.S. Monthly Users)
Line (styled as LINE) is a freeware app for instant communications on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, and personal computers. LINE users exchange texts, images, video and audio, and conduct free VoIP conversations and video conferences. It is the most popular messaging application in Japan. The call will not be free. Instead of paying for expensive mobile minutes, you’ll use your LINE credits to call on VoIP. This service is called LINE Out. Rates are generally affordable, but they vary depending on where you are calling.
#3 Telegram (3.44 Million U.S. Monthly Users)
Telegram is an online messaging app that works just like popular messaging apps WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This means that you can use it to send messages to your friends when connected to Wi-Fi or your mobile data.
Telegram’s main selling point is security. It claims all its activities – including chats, groups and media – are encrypted, meaning even if they are intercepted, they won’t be visible without being deciphered first. However, some security experts have cast doubt on how secure Telegram is.
It has gained notoriety as the terrorists’ messaging app of choice. It was reportedly used by ISIS, who recommended it to its supporters and members because of its security features. Telegram responded by blocking public channels operated by ISIS to spread propaganda. But it refused to censor private messages based on “local restrictions on freedom of speech.”
#2 TikTok (3.48 Million U.S. Monthly Users)
Unless you’re a Gen Z’er, or are super hip and with the times, you might still think TikTok is just a Kesha tune from 2009, or worse, the sound a clock makes. And while you’re not wrong, if you ask any young person under 20, they’ll tell you TikTok is their very lifeblood. A complete subculture, TikTok has taken the tweeny boppers by storm, leaving millennials completely in the dust of Instagram and Facebook.
It is a free social media app that lets you watch, create, and share videos — often to a soundtrack of the top hits in music — right from your phone. It was originally available as musical.ly in the U.S. but was rebranded when the two apps merged in August 2018.
Originally made for lip-synching to your favorite songs, TikTok has exploded in all different directions. The feed is filled with fifteen-second vertical videos across genres — from dancing to gymnastics to short-form comedy – their one uniting factor is some kind of audio (either a song or voiceover). It has its own audio library, with a diverse catalog including popular songs and silly voiceovers (a la the emoji challenge), as well as Snapchat-esque filters. Users can garner likes and comments similar to Instagram, and, of course, like any other social media platform, TikTok has its very own influencers, called “Musers.”
TikTok made headlines in April for propelling country trap star Lil Nas X into the spotlight. After his single “Old Town Road” went viral via a meme on TikTok, the song found itself on top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs, but not on the Hot Country Songs chart — despite Lil Nas X identifying as a country artist. Only the third country song to hit the number one Hot 100 spot in thirty years, the exclusion from Hot Country Songs sparked a hot debate about race and the definition of country music itself.
#1 Kik (5.31 U.S. Monthly Users)
Kik is a cross-platform mobile application used for instant messaging. Like many other popular messaging apps, such as Messenger and Snapchat, you can use Kik to message individual friends as well as groups of friends. Kik allows anyone to sign up with just a name and an email address (which can be fake). Users don’t need to connect the app to a phone number and are only identified by their username. Privacy and anonymity are a big part of the app’s appeal. And the anonymity has led to a rash of local news stories of cyberbullying, sexual predators preying on children, and even a murder that made the national news.
Kik also has many built in apps that expand its functionality. You can play games, make memes, listen to music, watch videos, and browse the web – all within Kik. Once you’re inside the app, there is very little reason to leave.
The app is wildly popular, especially in the US with kids less than 18 years old. The company claims that 40% of American teenagers are Kik users. The app is even designed with teens in mind, with the CEO saying, “youth are our primary focus.”