Whatsapp’s New Features and Reception
Unless you just got kidnapped or live in a hole, you must have heard of Whatsapp’s new status feature. The new update was rolled out during Whatsapp 8th birthday. Happy Birthday Whatsapp!
News of the updates spread first but that’s expected since this affects over 1.2 billion Whatsapp users. This feature is available for iPhone, Android, and Windows platforms.
The new feature allows you to update statuses in the form of images, emojis, animated GIFs, and videos. This is definitely a shift from the text-only statuses. This update will be seen by selected contacts in your contact list for 24 hours. What this means is that you will be expected to update your status after every 24 hours! Probably not the best idea but, who knows? we may all warm up to this idea.
The status updates are end-to-end encrypted as is the case with chats and calls on this platform.
Perhaps one of the most striking things is that friends can now reply to your status update and you can, in turn, see who viewed your status update by tapping the eye icon at the bottom of the status update.
The update is seen as a strategy that could eventually usher in money-making ventures especially advertising. Whatsapp seems to be moving towards connecting its huge user base with enterprises. Users have shown strong aversion towards ads and anything that distracts them; hence, Whatsapp must proceed with caution. Third party access to the platform must only be done if and when businesses can engage with customers in a simple and spam free manner.
By now, you must have realized that this idea does not sound very new. That’s because it isn’t. The new Whatsapp status update borrows a lot from Snapchat stories which allow users to share similar ephemeral statuses. It’s no surprise that Whatsapp has copied Snapchat since it has done it before with Instagram stories. This is some legal high-tech mimicry. Will Whatsapp bring good tidings? Not according to some people.
The Snapchat-like feature attracted mixed reactions on social media platforms. Some are unsure about what the update could mean for them. The Twitterverse was deluged with mean tweets. Some described the update as “unnecessary “and “useless”. Others decried the privacy violation of the new status feature.
Some people voiced their dislike for the new feature with some even inquiring whether they could go back to the old Whatsapp version.
Amidst all the hate, others expressed their joy and especially praised the option of showing your status to selected people.
The Other Pressing Issue
As Whatsapp moves towards monetizing the platform, there is another thing that calls for immediate attention. The app needs to invest in a feature that can give people control over which groups they should be added to. The same goes for Facebook! It is extremely annoying when the notification reads, in part, “…added you to the group…” It’s annoying and sometimes awkward to keep leaving groups you did not ask to be added to in the first place. Zuckerberg, fix this!