Today, it is likely that almost all of us regularly use WhatsApp- provided we have access to a smartphone of course. And that makes perfect sense; after all, WhatsApp is one of the most prominent and most easy to use instant messaging applications there are right now. Naturally, as can be seen from this instance, it has indeed become one of the most important social media platforms today. And, like all social media, it has drawn a considerable amount of mixed reviews from people. On the one hand, most people would agree with the great things that WhatsApp has done for us; on the other, many people are of the opinion that WhatsApp has indeed brought about a lot of harm for its users. In this article, we will try to look at both sides of the story.
Positive effects of WhatsApp:
First of all, we will look at why WhatsApp is so popular today.
To begin with, WhatsApp is very cost effective compared to the other instant messaging services. Remember the days when you had to pay through your nose to hold a meaningful, and even a mundane, conversation? Well, WhatsApp certainly did put an end to all that. SMS used to be, and still is, really expensive, with a specific number of characters you can send for a minimum fee, which gets cut from your main balance that you otherwise need to make calls. Now that makes sending SMSes really expensive, since you have to recharge your phone with an SMS pack that allows you to send messages without affecting your calling balance or deplete your calling balance sending SMSes. WhatsApp, on the other hand, is completely free. All you need to do is pay for your internet connection, and as long as you have enough mobile data (and you don’t need much for WhatsApp to run, you are good to go.
Making international calls or even sending SMSes internationally is a really expensive activity. Irrespective of the service provider you have chosen, international calls and messages cost a lot, more than local or national ones. WhatsApp, however, utilizes only data, and the charges are the same across the globe. If you are in Taiwan and wish to send a message across the world to Greenland, feel free to do so using WhatsApp, because you will be charged the same if you had engaged in a WhatsApp conversation with your next door neighbor. Your data usage will be the same, and the good thing is, you need very little data to run WhatsApp.
WhatsApp comes with a host of features. You can not only send text messages and hold endless conversations; you can make the conversation more fun by sending pictures, videos, and songs via WhatsApp. Wish to share your whole wedding album? Feel free! Have you uploaded a new video on YouTube and cannot wait to show it to your friends? WhatsApp again! What is more, you can also make data calls from WhatsApp, although this feature will only work when the other person also has mobile data or access to WiFi.
Negative effects of WhatsApp:
Like everything else, WhatsApp also comes with a host of negative implications.
Lacks cross-device compatibility
One major complain about WhatsApp is that it is not compatible cross devices. It is an application, and as such, it needs to be installed on a phone that supports the installation of the application. As such, you can only use WhatsApp to converse with people who also have the application installed on their phones. Besides, WhatsApp data cannot be transferred from phone to phone, although this can be countered by choosing to restore all previous data when you install the app in a new phone. This makes the technology rather restrictive.
Yet another complaint, one that is in compliance with all other social media apps and websites, is the fact that WhatsApp is intensely distracting. How easy can it be to concentrate on the work at hand if the notifications for new messages keep going on and on? If you have mobile data or WiFi on, you simply cannot stop receiving messages, unless you choose to mute a conversation or block a number.
WhatsApp is indeed a very useful messaging app. It is inexpensive and loaded with features, and eminently user friendly. Most people today extensively use WhatsApp all the time. And its appeal can be seen even more in the fact that it is today being used not just to communicate and stay in touch with family and friends, but also to relay important messages to our colleagues and bosses. But in the end, whether it is useful or not depends entirely on you, and you only.