If you haven’t heard of the free messaging application WeChat, you’re not alone; even though it currently boasts a half billion active users, it has only recently started to catch on in Europe and the Americas. But it is catching on quickly, and we can only expect that WeChat’s popularity will continue to grow exponentially, possibly even overtaking some other big players in the instant messenger market. The reasons for WeChat messenger’s consistent success are multi-faceted, but underlying its popularity are innovative and exciting new features that other instant messaging apps don’t have. What WeChat has done is take the basic elements of an instant messenger service and transformed them into a truly immersive, social user experience.
WeChat’s New Social Options
WeChat includes all of the standard messaging features you would expect, such as the ability to send SMS text messages and MMS picture and video messages, start group chats with groups of up to 500 people, and make free voice calls from just about anywhere in the world. To spice up your text messages, there is an enormous sticker gallery with some of your favorite animated characters. WeChat also has a great video chat feature, and you can link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your WeChat account, making it easy to share things from your WeChat feed to your other favorite social networks using the “Moments” feature. There is also a “Live Chat” feature which is sort of a hybrid of a walkie-talkie and a conference call. But these features aren’t what make it stand out from the crowd. This is where those unique social features come into play.
WeChat: The Shake Feature
The WeChat app is not only great for helping you stay in touch with family and friends, it can actually help you meet new people and make new friends if you want. WeChat’s two social features can be used to find existing friends or find new people to chat with or hang out with, depending on how you use them. The first social feature that is totally unique to WeChat is called “Shake”. This can be used to coordinate large groups of your existing friends or to chat with new people. For example, let’s say you’re out with a group of people, friends, mutual friends and some new acquaintances. You’re all having a great time, and want to add each other as WeChat contacts. You don’t have to manually add every single new contact, just have everyone turn on the Shake feature and shake their phones simultaneously; WeChat will display a list on each phone of everyone who was shaking, so that you can add your new friends quickly and easily and get back to having fun. Alternatively, if you’re sitting at home and bored, you can use the Shake option too; you’ll get a list of every other WeChat user all around the world who is also shaking their phone. Find someone who looks interesting, and strike up a conversation. Boom, you just made a new virtual friend.
WeChat: The Look Around Feature
WeChat’s other unique social feature is called “Look Around”, which is great for people who are interested in making new friends in real life. When you select the Look Around option, WeChat will give you a list of nearby people who also have the option turned on. Scroll through the list, find some interesting people, and send them a request. If you decide to meet up, you might find your new best friend, or even Mr. or Mrs. Right! Don’t worry about random people stalking you with this feature, though; you’ll only show up as “nearby” in other people’s lists if you’re using the feature too.
WeChat is Totally Free
WeChat is really shaking things up in the instant messenger app industry with its unique social features, plus all of the basic messaging features you could ever need. Best of all, WeChat is 100% free. Download WeChat for free, use all of its great features for free with no subscription fees or hidden charges; even international calls and messages are free. And you will also find tons of free stickers available in the sticker gallery. With so many awesome ways to stay connected and meet new people, all for free, it’s no wonder over 500 million people use it as their preferred social messaging application!