WhatsApp: The New Age Illusion of Friendships Among Kenyan Young Adults
Social Media, Facebook in particular has been found to create the illusion of socialization without actual communication. While making new friends is hard for most people, use of social media has been said to make this even harder as people are no longer making the effort to have friendships offline due to the ease of having them online. With advancement in technology, we have seen social media and mobile phones converge through the now famous mobile platform WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a mobile messaging platform which allows anyone with the application to message each other free and very fast. In Kenya, the use of WhatsApp has caught up very fast. Guided by the Relational Dialectics theory, Media System Dependency theory and Strong and Weak Ties theory, this study sought to find out how popular WhatsApp is among Kenyan youths is and how the use of WhatsApp is influencing friendships by employing convenience sampling.
The study was conducted in the months of May and June, through an online questionnaire, revealed that connectivity among Kenyan youths has become more possible through the use of WhatsApp. People are now keeping in touch with people they would not have communicated with, if WhatsApp did not exist. WhatsApp has also become a strong communication tool for keeping in touch with friends and family living abroad. The data further reveals that even though Kenyan Youths are connected now more than ever, the bonds of friendship are weak ties. The study established that WhatsApp creates an illusion of friendship among Kenyan youths while in reality, real friendships do not exist.
KeywordsSocial media WhatsApp Mobile phones Personal relationships
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