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New messenger service ‘Kik’ reaches Southern

Mon, 11/15/2010
By:

Alyssa Diglio

Staff Writer

Kik, a new mobile messenger service, has skyrocketed since its launch less than three weeks ago. In only 15 days, according to its website, over one million people have become users of Kik Messenger. Students like junior Joseph D’Ambrosca said it is quickly gaining momentum among college aged students.

“I heard about it through Facebook,” he said. “Everyone was posting it so I looked it up on Google to see what it was all about. Then I downloaded it.”

D’Ambrosca, a business marketing major, said he likes it because he switched from a BlackBerry to a Droid and the one thing he missed about his BlackBerry was BlackBerry Messenger, commonly known as BBM .

“Kik is an application that allows you to communicate with others in real-time messages, similar to an instant messaging program,” he said. “It allows you to see if a person has read the message you sent them, so you know if they are ignoring you or not.”

He said a lot of his friends use Kik but he still uses text messaging more because he’s not used to it yet.

“Once I get used to it and remember that I have it,” he said, “I will use it more often.”

D’Ambrosca said he thinks the main reason why Kik has become so popular is because people are putting their usernames as their Facebook statuses, which compels their friends to check out the application. Kik also syncs with your Facebook friends; it goes through your friends list and suggests people you may want to add to your contact list.

“It’s convenient, it’s fun, and it’s new,” he said.

In a press release, Ted Livingston, President and CEO of Kik Interactive, Inc. said, “The sudden surge in Kik’s popularity is driving what may be the fastest-ever growth of any mobile app.”

He said the continuing rush of new users is overwhelming, yet thrilling.

Senior Jordan Napolitano said he found out about Kik through his roommate and he jumped right on the bandwagon and downloaded it.

“It seemed safe enough,” he said, “and it didn’t cost me anything.”

Napolitano, an athletic training major, said only a few of his friends are using it as of right now so he still uses text messaging more than Kik.

“I like it a lot because it’s fast. It doesn’t lag much,” he said. “And as far as I know, it’s free.”

He said he thinks Kik has been so successful because texting is such a popular means of communication.

“With Kik, you don’t have to worry about going over limits and being charged fees,” he said.

Jessica Proctor, a communications major, said she heard about Kik from some of her friends. She just recently downloaded it and hasn’t really explored it yet, but she said she likes it so far.

“I don’t know too much about it yet,” she said. “It seems pretty cool though. I like how when I set it up, it listed
people that I might know, which made it easier. I didn’t have to go and search for people.”

Proctor, a junior, said a lot of her friends are using Kik and she hopes to use it more often once she gets familiar with it.

“It’s a trend and everyone wants to know what it’s about,” she said. “If it is a convenience, people will use it.”

Marketing professor Robert Forbus said he heard the hype about Kik through his students.

“Students tell me about new, cool applications for the iPhone because they know I am an iPhone user,” he said. “Consequently, I checked out the details of Kik at the iPhone store, and then at the Kik website.”

However, he said he doesn’t use Kik because he doesn’t need it, nor is he interested in it. He said he is increasingly turning off his iPhone more in order to avoid constant interruptions, so he doesn’t need to add to the list of things that consume all of his time.

As a marketing professor, he said he doesn’t think the Kik team has done a good job promoting it thus far.

“The application is in its infancy, as far as its product life-cycle is concerned,” he said. “If the firm hopes to increase brand and product awareness, marketers will likely spend a great deal of resources on promotion.

The application is free, so the price is right. But more buzz about Kik is needed.”

Forbus said he thinks Kik was created for heavy users of text messaging, which is the younger generation, and to some extent, middle aged people.

“College students are often among the early adopters of technology,” he said. “Kik has several things going for it, including the following: relative advantage, which is how much better consumers perceive an innovation to be relative to previous generations; compatibility, which is how easily assimilated the technology or idea is perceived to be by the consumer; complexity, which is how complicated to use consumers perceive an innovation to be; and trialability, which is how easily consumers can try out a new idea or technology.”

He said although one million users may sound impressive, it might not be compared to the adoption of Twitter when it was released to the public.

“If Kik follows the diffusion of innovations model,” he said, “we’ll find that one million users in 15 days in relatively unimpressive in comparison to the total number of users the application will have once adoption reaches critical mass.”

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