Authors: Dr. S. Hemamalini
Abstract: Social media is evolving in the world at very fast pace and affecting people in numerous ways. In a press statement in 2017, the founder of Whatsapp Brian Acton has stated that “India is a very important country to us, and we're proud to have 200 million people who use WhatsApp to connect with their friends, family and communities," such is the usage of WhatsApp in India. Exchange of text, image, video, audio between individual’s or group’s have enabled the application to be accepted at a faster rate. This technology has become an important platform of social connectivity which can be debated in both positive and negative aspects. This study is an attempt to measure the impact of WhatsApp on students; with reference to the youth of Tiruvarur, Tamilnadu, India. The “connected presence” (Licoppe, 2004) is created by the users to maintain the online relationships either through SNS or IMS. This study also takes into account Gergen (2008) statement where continuous contact or floating worlds of communication, whereby individuals are tethered to groups through mobile phones, increasing dense, localized, reciprocal, bounded social interaction, which may, however, lead to decreased involvement in the public sphere avoiding larger social problems and issues. Questionnaire was formulated to undertake survey among 350 students. This study has revealed that Whatsapp has not only been improving the social connectivity among its users but also has adverse effects on the attitude of the students. Theoretical approach on Media literacy was also explored among the respondents the area of study was limited to the rural district.
Keywords: WhatsApp, Collective Connectivity, Media literacy, Rural Students, Perpetual Contact