If you’re an old freak like me, you probably didn’t know that the young folks in Singapore are obsessed with a messaging platform.
And not, it’s not Tik Tok. Tik Tok is a video platform and that’s for the even younger folks.
It’s Telegram, the app that youngsters can’t live without and oldies can’t understand.
In fact, one of my colleagues said that she only used WhatsApp to communicate with her family members: every communication with her friends is with Telegram.
And lest you’re old, here’s what Telegram is.
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Still here and prefer to read? Here goes.
Telegram: The Usual Messaging Platform With Extra Features
Simply put, Telegram is just like WhatsApp but packed with many other features.
There’s secret chat, whereby all communications won’t go through a server. There’s passcode chat, whereby you can lock conversations with a password. And most importantly, it has self-destruct messages, and as the name says, messages can be deleted by itself after a certain amount of time.
The app also allows publishers like us (follow us here!) to broadcast messages to their followers.
It also encrypts all messages and media, though some experts claim that it might not be that reliable as Telegram custom-design their encryption system.
But why are only young Singaporeans using it?
For that, we’d have to understand everything about this app that’s taking the world by storm.
Founded, Funded and Managed by One Key Man
Unlike WhatsApp that’s bankrolled by the giant Facebook, Telegram’s extremely private.
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Back in 2006, Russian Pavel Durov, who was then mere 22 years old, started vk.com, a social media platform that’s heavily influenced by Facebook. It was a large success, but his government’s alleged intervention into the platform triggered the rebellious entrepreneur: when the police went to his house to demand for a removal of certain pages, he didn’t open the door, but soon posted an image of his (very cute) dog.
He left Russia in 2014 after he was fired from the company he founded.
By then, he’s already a rich man with an alleged net worth of USD$2.7 billion, and had started Telegram for less than a year.
He got a Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship, and now lives in whereby Telegram is based on.
Wait, what? So Telegram isn’t based in Russia?
Telegram, The App That is Based in… Places with Internet
Here’s a shocker before anything: Telegram has a grand total of…15 employees.
This team has initially started in Germany, but they moved around the world due to different reasons. In fact, according to their website, Telegram was once based in Singapore!
Currently, it’s based on Dubai.
The 15 employees managed a grand total of about 300 monthly active users, and if you’re do the maths, you’ll realise that if they just put just one advertisement, Pavel could well be the richest man ever.
But that isn’t going to happen.
Telegram’s Goal: Never to Be Profit-Driven
Unlike its competitor WhatsApp, Telegram’s goal is never about profits.
In fact, the app’s still live because Pavel has been bankrolling it with his own money since its inception.
We’re not just talking about that 15 employees but everything: from its server cost (which could cost a lot given its size) to its development cost. Goody Feed has an app too so we know developing and maintaining an app is extremely costly.
But what’s Telegram’s end goal? Well, it’s really unknown—the company is rather secretive, though the reason cited was to prevent any governmental data request.
However, it’s mentioned that if the app really runs out of money, they’ll introduce paid non-essential options, but putting ads is a no-no to them.
But here’s the “danger”: one man is controlling everything about Telegram, and if he decides to remove the app because he’s feeling cute, then Telegram could effectively be gone tomorrow.
So yes: save whatever data you need in the app because tomorrow might be…tomorrow.
How the App Grows
Unlike other unicorn apps like Instagram or Facebook, the app didn’t start off with millions of users—it slowly grows its user base, though a few notable events propelled its growth.
For a start, a year after the app was live, there was a South Korean governmental surveillance plan that affected one of the country’s most popular messaging platform, Kakao Talk. In seven days, 1.5 million South Koreas flocked to Telegram.
This year alone, there were some events that also led to Telegram’s exponential growth: when Facebook’s family of apps, including WhatsApp, was down in March, Telegram allegedly had 3 million new users.
And of course, it’s alleged that Hong Kong protestors moved to Telegram this year due to its secret chat function.
All in all, the app has 300 million monthly active users. For comparison’s sake, WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly active users.
Lest you’re not aware, apps usually use the daily active users or monthly active users as the metrics to determine its success.
But Why Only Young Singaporeans Are Using It?
It’s all due to how social app works.
Studies have shown that one of the key reasons why people use an app is its social aspect: the only reason why social media apps grow fastly is purely due to its social aspect. I mean, you don’t go to Facebook just to read news, do you?
And all it takes is a few young people in Singapore to use the app, and it’ll spread to many young people fastly. Because youngsters can accept technological changes faster, switching from WhatsApp to Telegram is similar to the days when they switch from SMS to WhatsApp.
So, if you’re an oldie who hasn’t switched to Telegram, maybe it’s time to do so now. And remember to follow us on Telegram once you’ve become a Telegram kia.
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