I am one of Whatsapp‘s two thousand million users. I am pretty sure that you, reader, are also one of the people that have Whatsapp installed on their phone, tablet, or computer, too. Many people around the world use this app to keep in touch with family members, colleagues, clients, neighbors, and everybody else.
The origins of Whatsapp, according to my experience with text messaging, are linked to Blackberry phones. If you owned a Blackberry in the decade of 2000, you must be familiar with the BB Pin. Every Blackberry unit came with a code that identified it and allowed the phone to connect to a private text message service called BBM or Blackberry Messenger. As far as I can remember, BBM was Blackberry-users-only and allowed them to send texts, pictures, make video calls, and many other things. At the time, I was a hardcore Nokia fan, and I would have never permitted myself to have a mobile device not manufactured by the famous Finnish company. So I never enjoyed the privilege of having a BB pin. I am a faithful customer, you see, and a maverick.
Then, Whatsapp arrived. It was cross-platform, which allowed users with different types of receivers and operative systems to enjoy the same services that BBM offered (Eat your heart out, BBM!). I understand that BBM started, at some point, to allow non-BB users to enjoy the service, but it was already late. At that point, Blackberry had started its tailspin down to oblivion (psychotic evil grin in my face).
Whatsapp has become a universal platform where many things happen at the same time. You might be consulted by the administration office of your condo about some problem in your building, or discuss a work issue with your office team. You can check with your son if he had orange juice in his lunch at school instead of a malt shake, and tell your sweetheart that you love him or her repeatedly. The copy-paste option is excellent for that.
You can receive an important document to check before sending it to a client and approve that photo your company is going to use in their next ad campaign. You can also listen to an audio message your secretary sent to you. You can do practically anything on Whatsapp, communication-wise.
Dealing with Whatsapp Chat Groups
The Whatsapp people are continuously updating their app, and I recently read an article about new options they included in the latest version. One that interested me the most was about archiving group chats. If you are a regular human being, like me, living in the year 2020, and in the middle of the COVID pandemic, you might be part of many chat groups on Whatsapp. There are groups for everything: condo groups, high-school alumni groups, drinking buddies groups, COVID groups, sewing groups, and it continues ad infinitum.
There are ways to handle the alerts that you get every time someone posts something. If you keep the default settings, you get a cheerful audio signal when a friend, colleague, or acquaintance sends a message. Every-single-time. And that might become, well, bothersome. To be honest, it can drive you crazy. So you look for ways to silence the signals. After all, you can’t be on top of everything that happens in the twenty groups you are a part of. So, to avoid the constant beeping, you opt for muting them, and problem solved.
That is a workaround for this problem. Sadly enough, you did not count on all the groups being marked as active with a green dot and put on top of the main chat list every time a message arrives. That means that you will have all your groups highlighted and on top of the other chats on the list if someone in the group sends a text. Then, you decide to archive the chat and take it out of the main list. That looks like a suitable solution. And it is, until someone posts another message. If that happens, Whatsapp brings the chat group back from the dead and put it on top of the main list again.
That was a problem for me. I do use Whatsapp, yes, but I am not continuously checking what everybody says on groups or individually. And there are times when people engage in arguments you are not willing to participate in. So you don’t want to see the slot that belongs to that particular group, there, with the little green dot indicating the number of messages you haven’t read yet. And you feel compelled to read them, but you know that it is not necessary. But the green dot is there and seems to have a pulse of its own. It is waiting for you to tap on the group slot and read the message. Won’t you tap and read? It can be very annoying. Particularly when you have OCD, like me.
I recently read that Whatsapp is planning to solve this critical issue. Apparently, in new versions of the app, if you archive a chat group, it will remain archived no matter what happens. In other words, it will be there until you decide to bring it back. I have to say I felt disheartened when I downloaded the newest version and archived the chat group of my condo that seems inhabited by a horde of lunatics. I archived it with the hope that it remained there, in the archived chats area, silent, muted. And it did, for a while. A long one. Until someone sent a picture, complaining of the dirt construction workers left in the foyer when they came in and out. And the written gibberish started again. (Oh, Goodness!) I guess I will have to wait for the Whatsapp team to work on that if it is true that they are planning to solve this problem. Whatsapp people, if you are reading this, for Pete’s sake, listen to my plea!
I guess Whatsapp believes group chats have to come back to the main list because it is a way of assuring you to get any urgent or crucial post. But they should somehow help people who want to silence groups completely, at least for a while. There are moments when you really don’t care about what members are posting in some groups.
Other updates I read about have to do with the possibility of connecting devices without having your phone synchronized with them. That situation is similar to Instagram and their insistence on making users post pictures from their phones and not from other devices. In the case of Whatsapp, your phone must be online if you want to use the application on your computer. I believe these restrictions hinder users and do not let them enjoy the app. Of course, there are always workarounds. I know the workarounds. Like He-Man, I got the power.
Whatsapp is a universally adopted messaging platform that allows users send and receive all types of messages on their phones, tablets, and computers. Whatsapp is continuously working on updates to improve their users’ experience. Its origin is associated with a previous app, BBM. Whatsapp is the messaging service of choice for many people around the globe.