Posted on June 2, 2017 by Heather/>
It started off fairly innocuously. Yet another messaging platform to add to the list. A slightly better way to text, although back then hardly anyone was using WhatsApp so it all seemed a bit redundant. We early adopters had fun with it, but it wasn’t really very useful.
Fast forward about 4 years, and I’m conducting the vast majority of my day to day communication via WhatsApp. From checking with the Mummies group that the school bus is on time, to arranging meetings and appointments, to reaching out to candidates, discussing issues with smaller working groups from the office and arranging drinks with a bunch of girlfriends, it’s all WhatsApp.
Interestingly though, WhatsApp seems to be a particularly Indian (possibly Asian) obsession. No-one I know in the UK or US seems to use it as compulsively. Though many people in the UK are now using it, usage is similar to the “hi hello” of texting, and generally restricted to communication between friends. Brits are unlikely to use the medium for work purposes, it’s “just too informal” according to one friend. Another told me that “you need to have everything recorded on e mail if it’s important”.
My theory is that WhatsApp suits India’s culture of “everything now” and its rather slapdash nature. You can make a WhatsApp group in seconds, and hey presto, start bombarding the group members with messages. Even better – they don’t get the option to be added to your group, although they can, of course, remove themselves. India also loves to hear the sound of its own voice. With WhatsApp , you can send “happy Monday” messages and pictures of fluffy kittens to your entire address book, and you’ll feel super loved on your birthday when all those wishes come flooding in.
Though I’m a Brit, and thus supposedly more reserved when it comes to communication, I’ve gone the Indian way with WhatsApp. My phone pings non stop, and it totally suits the multi-tasker in me. WhatsApp has made me way more productive overall, and just helps me get things done faster. But no, you’ll never ever catch me sending a gif of a cute baby and wishing you a happy morning!
Are you new to India and wondering what all the WhatsApp fuss is about? Here’s my advice – be part of all the groups you’ll inevitably be added to, but find the mute button!