WORTH YOUR TIME?: It may be handy, but WhatsApp can have a negative impact on our lives
I WOULD much rather talk than text. I mean a) ‘how dare you think you know what I’m about to say’? #PredictiveText b) I have so much I need to say but you want to limit MY freedom of speech? #TextCharacterCount and c) my creative mind has interpreted at least nine different emotions and scenarios following your text response; ”I am busy’ #WhatDoesThisREALLYMean?
Nonetheless, Whatsapp enthralled me. I think it was the emojis. Makaton has always been a fundamental part communication with my sensory impaired brother. ‘A picture (or in this case) emoji paints a thousand words’.
I could literally send a thousand words, with no limitations. And, I loved the speed in which I could screenshot and forward pictures of …Never mind, you get what I mean! In 2013, the updated feature of sending voice notes made me feel nostalgic as I was reminded of free communication courtesy of One-2-One’s voice message service #TheGoodOldDays.
Whatsapp scored even more points, appealing to my passion for cultural appreciation #FifaWorldCup2014 #FlagEmojis #GhanaFlag #NationalPride. But the cherry on the cake was when I discovered I could communicate with my international friends and family for FREE (within my data limits).
I only had a couple of small gripes; #BlueTicks and #LastSeenOnLine but overall with the option of turning this notification off (and of course I did), I was happy.
The speed in which I could send and receive information was delightful, however the ‘fast communication life’ began to encroach on my privacy, impinge on my well-being and slow me down.
• Group chats #Loud
• Viral videos of negative news and images sent directly to me without my permission #Depressing
• Screenshot of conversations sent to me and admittedly by me, without the involved parties consent #Incriminating
• People thinking they were within their rights to prompt me to communicate because they ‘see me on line’, then getting salty attitudes because I am ‘unavailable’ to communicate with them or simply choose not to at that precise moment #Manipulative
• A lack of conversation etiquette - No ‘hello’s’ or a ‘goodbye’s’ just straight into the detail of a convo #Disrespectful
• Aunties and Uncles sending daily affirmations, positive prayers and unfunny videos up to 10 times a day #Annoying
• Buzzing in the morning, buzzing at night #SleepDeprivation
And then Whatsapp crossed the line! ‘Video status update’ #GetLost.
On the 19th March 2017, I sent out a farewell message to my daily contacts and promptly deactivated the app.
For the first few days, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Checking my phone constantly and feeling slight disappointment when nothing new was there. I also recovered at least an hour and a half of my day, leaving me confused about what to do with my extra evening time.
After 10 days, I crumbled. Going back online to ‘check in’. All my old messages where there and there were another 1000+ messages from 62 new conversations. (OMG! Who speaks to 62 different people in 10 days?!) My heart pulsated as I experienced mixed feelings of shock, panic, excitement, pressure, guilt, anxiety and frustration. #GetAGrip
I reasoned; Family and friends will phone me. Work related messages will eventually make their way into my email. Acquaintances will go back to poking me on Facebook and and supporters will continue to press ‘like’ on Instagram.
But personally, the most important justification for coming off Whatsapp was simple; I needed to reclaim the time to write articles like this.