Wassup? Sorry… Whatsapp?
I’m not much of an Apps person – and especially so if it’s a communication app.
Quite moody by nature, I don’t enjoy being on instant-connect with either family or friends. I feel communication has to happen in its own time, and not forced. Whether on email or Facebook or any of the networks that I patronize, my chat option is always on switched-off mode. It’s more as a respect to the other person also; I don’t want to feel an urge to disturb the other person by initiating a communication when they may be in a mood to do something else in their own time.
Recently I downloaded the much popular Whatsapp on my phone on the insistence of a friend. More out of academic curiosity, than interest.
It has it pros & cons. It has opened up group family communication; it has honed my parents’ technological abilities & got them to upgrade to high end smart phones; it saves time & energy communicating the same piece of information to mom, dad & sibling in 3 separate sittings; reactions & cross-reactions are also instantaneous. And given the highly volatile temper DNA that runs in my birth family, it allows mass appeasement at oddest hours & spontaneous humor to flow through quickly. It has also cross connected me with myriad cousins & inlaws. So yes, in that sense this experiment has worked for me.
What has also worked for me is that erstwhile distant friends have been looped into a radar. A simple good-morning or a quote or a joke keeps communication alive without being too intrusive or personal. So technically, in a distant way, you’re practically connected to everyone.
The flip side is it becomes a substitute for personal connect. It’s a guilt free excuse for not making an extra effort. After a while, the emotions go missing. You’re talking to a machine. The person hates your joke yet a smiley comes. The person wants to contradict you yet sends a thumbs-up sign. People type you a happy-birthday message while simultaneously chatting with 10 others in a different group.
You take a conversation forward by choosing from a set of Whatsapp smileys – rather than listening to the tone of someone’s voice or their choice of spoken words or the tremors in their voice that tell you whether they are happy or angry or sad or suspicious.
It’s an option that seems ok with many – but I draw a line. It’s fantastic to share impersonal information that is fun to receive & send but where personal is concerned I’m rigid – I call mom & dad everyday; I call my sibling every 3rd day; I call friends who matter, according to mutual convenience. I want to hear them & I want to be heard. And I never forget that extra mile with closest friends – there’s always time for a face-2-face.
Whatsapp has its humor quotient too – it’s like passing the parcel. As one would say in our national language – iski topi uske sar. It doesn’t require much creativity to stay connected. Never keep what you receive – just pass it on to someone else – and yippee you’re in the loop… Improves mental reflexes too – we have to keep remembering who sent us what – and who we have sent what to, so there is no replication or confusion… The App has its share of quirky users too – those who never contribute to a group will dictate who you should add to & who you should delete from a group.
Well… Don’t resist change & go with the flow. After all, we are a blessed generation of multiple technological innovations. We shouldn’t ever forget that… As long we don’t lose what’s important to us in the process.
My final take: those who didn’t matter much, will come closer on your radar – and those who mattered will move farther to the periphery. By law of averages, it kind of just evens out – you won’t have friends or enemies – just an average group of people with whom you share an average connect with.
On the minus side: For someone like me, love is truly blind. I love a voice first, and then the person who comes with it. I cannot accord a smiley the status I do to a human voice.
And rest assured it’s not a gender specific remark. I truly believe that you can sum a person up from their voice. A voice is a person’s outward flow of energy that is created from a unique mixture of their innermost thoughts & emotions.
On the plus side: You won’t have to polish that sexy, baritone or husky voice that lets out a well-intonated, well-modulated “Hey wassup?”. Just an “Eh? Whatsapp?” in smileys will suffice.
Nice eh? What say? Sorry… Whatsapp??