What’s up with ‘What’s App”?

17th Nov, 2013

| by writesolutions

Illustration: Aruna

My bro-in-law did a double-take when his trader-associates in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar took his
orders on ‘What’s up?’ instead of using their phone diary

Radhika Sachdev
Let me recount what actually happened. We were at the breakfast table, when my bro-in-law happened to mention a new (for him, i.e.) messenger service for smart phones. It took us a while to convince him, first that it’s not ‘What’s Up?’ but ‘What’s App?’ and second that the cross-platform, instant messenger has now been around for a while.

“But…that’s what they call it,” he doggedly dug his heels in.

“…What if someone insists on addressing you as Varun instead of Arun, will you drop the V from your name?” quipped my sis, as we broke into a titter.

She is normally not so short on the leash. But a mention of ‘What’s App’ got the goat and I’ll tell you the reason why.

The other day, we were at a friends’ ‘get together’ where the host, instead of engaging with the people, who had taken the trouble of ‘getting together’ at her plush apartment, was ‘What’s App’ those who hadn’t bothered to show up.

That’s the chief reason, I identify completely with the wag who wants to commit a virtual identity suicide. With so many social networking sites to post your status on (Pray why should anyone want to give a minute-by-minute update on his/her life to anyone within eyeshot, is what beats me?), there are times, when I don’t want to do any Facebooking, Skype-ing, LinkedIn-ing or Instragram-ing.

Those are the days, when I just wanna be with myself and not have any virtual identity.

But this is easier said than done, when an accidental checking of a box at the time of booking a movie ticked at www.bookmyshow.com can announce your movie plans to all your friends and colleagues on Facebook!

I experienced this the first time, when my mail box started getting clogged with messages like, “Voila! Wish I could join you at PVR,” …..”Don’t go, this flick sucks!” and what have you!

I dread the day, when I sneeze, the sound gets picked up by my intelligent phone through red tooth (my spin on Bluetooth) technology and my alarmed friends begin calling me up with, “Caught flu?”….”get the Dengue test, done today…”, “Stay in bed, don’t step out…”

No doubt, ‘what’s App’ has everything going for it. If it’s an addiction, it’s not without a reason – you can upload videos, files – do virtually anything and everything with it, but the big question – do you want to? And even if you do, do you want the world to witness all your moves – when did you burp, what did you eat for lunch, what movie you went for and with whom???

Privacy is dead and I moan its loss, along with the nine million other Facebook users in the US and UK, who deleted their FB accounts recently because they didn’t want to get too addicted to this form of social networking.

In India, we are told, the trend has still not reversed, although the user demographic has changed. There are more 30+ on Facebook than the 20-somethings, who had already gone weary of it.

I guess, I am going to sign out next, even as my bro-in-laws’ business mates have just begun to sign-in.


Radhika Sachdev

Content Strategist

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