WhatsApp Status – The new feature that should remain old

Whatsapp

Whatsapp has come a long way from the days when the engineers that built it were denied a job at Facebook. Now, Jan Koum and Brian Acton are two happy men. With money.

Lots of it, in fact. Around $19 billion. For Whatsapp.

Well, no, since we’re so silly to think they’re both living Scrooge McDuck lives and jumping off a diving board into gold coins.

And now they’ve come up with a new feature stolen from someone who stole it from someone who thought it was a cool feature to attract teens with low esteem.

Whatsapp Status – a 24 hour content stream that lets you upload an image or video about anything and everything, and disappears the next day.

Why?

I mean why on Whatsapp, what is the point? On Snapchat, I could understand since its a instantaneous “here and gone”, pretty much the original thoughts that enter and leave young people’s minds right before they take a “serrrllffiiiieeee”.

And then it ventured onto Instagram, the grownup version, providing sexy people with the opportunity to show off their abs and butts without waiting for the tabloids to do so.

But it made sense there; Instagram is a public tool, allowing strangers to wangle into your storefront and stare blandly at the goods. And the platform, thanks to their algorithms that detected female nipples and overall genitalia, became as trusted a family social tool as Christmas dinner.

Whatsapp is reserved for your friends and family though, and your vanity is limited to the few that really care or technically don’t. So is this new feature an actually ploy to grab further users (they doubled they userbase in the past two years to around 1.2 billion) or trying to be relevant in a landscape with the “same old same old”?

The instant gratification of a few seconds of “status” still intrigues me, yet I have been unable to obtain a plausible reason why. I ask those around me why implementing a 5 second video of themselves giving the finger to the world would be so appealing, only to have generalised responses like, “bra, it’s cool, why be so uptight?”

Uptight? Is it me then?¬†Am I turning into a fuddy-duddy, where “new things” upset the order of the universe? No, I’ve been a curmudgeon for so long I can criminalise a new flavour of chocolate ice-cream that appears in my supermarket shelf, so I haven’t changed.

I’m just not sure I’m happy with using data reminding my private list of contacts what mood I’m feeling. If I want to let someone know how I feel, I’ll send a wonderful voicenote akin to what Louis CK hates. “Heeeyyyyy bro, these chicken cheez whizzes are like…ammmaaarrzzzinnggg????”

What I really want to change though is my ringtone. Oh man, if only could I change my ringtone to something I can customise and create, I would be SOOO happy. So goddamn happy, I could scream.

Let me change my ringtone, Whatsapp. Please.

Nelson De Gouveia

Nelson has been writing since he can remember, and even won a diploma for public speaking, albeit 20 years ago.
He works full time, loves his girlfriend and plays Batman on his Xbox a lot, even when it's finished.

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