#Whatsapp – oh, so that’s what it is!

meeka-thinksWhat a difference a name makes. Believe it or not, until today, I really didn’t know what Whatsapp was.

So for all those other dinosaurs out there, here’s my definition of Whatsapp and messaging in general:

It’s instant messaging, but for your phone!

-blush- I know, I know. I feel so dumb, don’t rub it in… But you see, all the hype made me think messaging was something new. It’s not. IM, or instant messaging has been around on the computer for a very long time.

“But what is it?” you say.

On the computer, instant messaging is like making a phone call with your eyes instead of your ears. You and the person you are ‘talking’ to are connected in real time, and you type messages back and forth, also in real time. So you are having an ‘instant’ conversation using text instead of voice.

Compare this to email which is like sending a letter that the recipient receives instantly, but may not read [or reply] to until some time later.

I can’t remember when I first started using instant messaging, but I know I was using it daily by 2001. I stopped using it daily when I started receiving massive phone bills [I didn’t know that I would be slugged with a massive data surcharge].

Fast forward to the mobile era and ‘lo, smartphones have apps [a sexy word for a program] which can do instant messaging like computers but on the go. Instead of talking to someone on your contact list, or sending them a text [which is like a teeny tiny email that may or may not be read straight away], messaging apps allow smartphone users to text back and forth in real time.

“But why message when you can talk?”

Okay, I’m not completely sure of the answer to this one, but I think it has something to do with cost. Voice calls cost a certain amount of money. SMS text messages also cost money but less than voice calls, so my guess is that messaging costs less again.

The reason I’m so hesitant about the cost is because Australia is very different to the US. I believe that in the US, data [i.e. SMS and messaging etc] is practically unlimited so messaging is a satisfying and cheap alternative to voice calls.

Here in Australia, however, we have to pay for our data. I’m with Virgin Mobile and from memory I have 1.5 GB of free data included [per month]. Any usage above that incurs a cost. As I know how easy it is to use up 1.5 GB of data, I try not to use data at all – hence my lack of knowledge about messaging. And yes, I could upgrade to a better plan, but that would be an added cost on top of the money I already spend getting internet access for the computers in our house.

To be brutally honest, I’d rather play FFXIV and have access to the internet on my computer with its lovely big screen and decent speakers than ‘chat’ with you on my smartphone.

And that is why I didn’t know that Whatsapp is just an instant messaging program – because it’s designed for phones not computers.

So there you have it, a dinosaur’s eye view of Whatsapp.:)



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

18 responses to “#Whatsapp – oh, so that’s what it is!

  • Hariod Brawn

    It’s not for me; it’s Facebook in different clothes, and their data harvesting is worse than MS.

    Liked by 1 person

  • George

    I haven’t installed Whatsapp because everyone were telling me “You should install whatsapp so we can talk!”
    You are sitting right here…
    I installed viber instead (but used google hangouts:P)
    it seems viber and whatsapp have divided the market.


    • acflory

      Ah, that must be the other app. Anne mentioned. And yes, I understand completely; messaging can be great but face time is what human interaction is meant to be about! It’s so weird seeing people out in public together. It’s obvious that they are together, physically, but mentally? Who knows…

      Liked by 1 person

  • MELewis

    I love messaging as it’s instant (gratification!) but less cumbersome than actual conversation. And data is not really an issue here. But I’m frustrated by the proliferation of apps. Why can’t everybody just agree to use the same damned platform? I have friends who’ll say: didn’t you get my message? Well no, because I didn’t see it amidst the ones from Messenger, Whats App, FaceTime, Skype, etc. Too many apps can kills the apps.

    Liked by 1 person

  • davidprosser

    Thanks Meeks. I had no idea what Whatsapp was either. I understand that Viber is free to use but don’t know about sending pictures etc. I stick to texting on my mobile and to using Skype for im at home because that’s also free. When people friend you on Skype that is (hint hint). But even that I don’t know about when it comes to sending pictures.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      lol – I uninstalled Skype ages ago coz I wasn’t using it. Then I learned that it had been bought out by Microsoft so that kills any future use as well. Pictures and music will ALWAYS cost you bandwidth, unless you reduce the pic radically. Sending via your phone may not be economically viable.

      Liked by 1 person

  • metan

    I would still keep an eye on your data use, at least at the start.

    Number 1 son uses the iMessage app to talk to his friends, and while it generally uses tiny amounts of data, there have been times (caused by sending pictures I think) when it has used hundreds of mb in a very short space of time. Like you, we don’t have a huge amount of data in a month, so he really has to keep an eye on it!

    I’m not sure how whatsapp works though, so it might be a completely different thing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      No, I think you’re right, Metan – even if the text is very cheap to send, pictures and music would chew up the data like nothing on earth. That was actually what happened to me way back when I first used IM on the computer – was merrily sending and receiving pictures and music only to be hit by the bill a few weeks later.
      Apparently things haven’t changed all that much between then and now.
      I really envy people who can stay connected without counting the cost. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • metan

        I agree, the kids know why we have to keep an eye on it but their dream is unlimited access to the internet! The plan we are on gives us 4 gig a month and then, fortunately, just slows to dial up speed. Annoying, but often the speed change is barely noticeable! (Thanks Telstra)

        Number 1 is really good at keeping his use under control, but I can’t expect him to stop his friends sending pictures to him. One night he turned on his iThing after a week using a different device and it immediately caught up on all of the group chats he was a part of…. 500+ mb in mere minutes. The one time the bloody internet was super speedy and it was wasted on that!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • acflory

          Ungh…-bites knuckles- That would have me screaming like a stuck pig! I haven’t trusted my phone since I was charged hundreds of dollars for these weird SMS calls that I kept deleting because I thought they were just ‘spam’. Little did I know that each one was costing me $5. Virgin gave me a refund for some of it, but I still don’t know how something like that can be ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’. grrrr….

          Liked by 1 person

  • anne54

    This made me smile (in a slightly superior way 🙂 ) because I actually know what WhatsApp is, and I use it!! My friend put me on to it, and she uses it extensively chat to her overseas children. She has various groups set up and they can all chat together. You can also send photos, much cheaper/free? than SMS. I have also used the phone function when my sister was overseas. I think Vibre is something similar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • acflory

      Ah hah! lol – I was about to ask why she uses her phone to do all that when I realised that using the desktop requires her [and them] to be stationary at home.
      I won’t be rude and ask how much it costs but I would be interested in knowing what kind of a data plan the two of you use. I’m assuming even the overseas ‘chat’ is cheaper than using voice?

      Liked by 1 person

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