- Some annoyed users find Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging app overwhelming
The constant stream of messages from WhatsApp groups is driving people away from the messaging app, users say.
People who turn off Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging service find it overwhelming and too difficult to manage.
While blurring the lines between professional and private life with “kisses” left on job applications.
This is despite WhatsApp rolling out a number of features to help people manage their messages, such as muting chats and “quietly leaving” groups.
Mayah Riaz “hates” WhatsApp but is yet to remove the app from her mobile phone as she feels “I have to have it because I don’t want to miss any messages”.
She now silences all notifications from the app.
“I was so happy when they introduced the feature to hide your online status. I’ve removed the read message notification too,” she told MailOnline.
‘Why would anyone know when I’m online or if I’ve read their message. And don’t get me started on the groups, oh, all those groups.’
Polly Arrowsmith once received “kisses” for a job request and definitely prefers to use SMS.
The 56-year-old former head of an award-winning IT managed services company told MailOnline: ‘This is where the personal and professional blur, because personal things get asked, like what I’m doing at the weekend, or I can find kisses added to a work request about what a professional relationship is.
“I prefer friendly, personal messages not to be in my professional messages. It’s a personal thing. WhatsApp also encourages less formal writing, so sometimes I have to find out the urgency of a request, because it’s disguised as a chatty paragraph.
“I find it difficult because I never know if someone is going to text or WhatsApp me, or I find it distracting to be called on WhatsApp while I’m on a call on my mobile. They might think you’re ignoring a conversation, while I don’t.’
She now has two lists of calls and messages to manage the load but still finds it stressful.
Arrowsmith added: “It definitely makes the separation between private and work life more difficult because people are also more likely to use WhatsApp during the weekend.”
The “absurd amount of groups” means that Marcio Delgado, 43, leaves them as soon as he is added to them.
The digital journalist said they made him more anxious along with the pressure to be constantly contactable.
He hopes to wean himself off the messaging app even more next year.
The thing is, even if I turn off WhatsApp notifications, it still gives me a kind of FOMO if I don’t open the app for a few hours and suddenly I see too many unopened messages – especially if they’re part of a newly created group that I haven’t yet have managed to remove me from, he says.
James Francis is a consumer expert at mobile marketplace Mozillion and has noticed a trend from customers wanting to be part of fewer chat groups.
“They become difficult to manage with multiple conversations taking place in them and some people find it overwhelming with all the constant messages – especially if each message is not relevant to the reader,” he said.
“It becomes a bit like an unchecked email inbox so people are looking for alternatives.”
Despite the boom in smartphones with the latest iPhone and Google Pixel releases hitting shelves in recent months, Francis says people are starting to sway towards stripped-down phones.
He said: “With an increase in people wanting a ‘digital detox’, interest in basic phone features is increasing as people look for simpler phones that have basic call and text capabilities – for example, we’ve definitely had a lot more interest in Nokia- phones on Mozillion this year compared to 2021/22.’
Others have jumped to WhatsApp’s defense, like retiree Barbara McMillan who relies on the app to keep in touch with her family.
The 79-year-old told MailOnline: ‘For the number of contacts I have, I don’t find it a problem to keep up with them, but I find it much more convenient than phone calls, which always seem more urgent because of the ringtone.
“I also use it to store information on my phone because I’ve been without a computer. Most of my texts are business related or meetings or spam. The bane of my life.’
WhatsApp is currently undergoing a makeover but the sleek new look may not be enough to win back those who have jumped ship.
One of them is dating expert Clarissa Bloom, 34, who would average about 300 messages a day from the 12 groups she was a part of.
The sight of a WhatsApp message pinging up on her phone would leave her stomach in knots “as if I had just consumed copious amounts of caffeine” even after she had turned off nine of the groups.
“It just felt overwhelming and stressful, even though the messages were always nice posts from friends and family,” she told MailOnline.
She points to the WhatsApp desktop that is ruining her daily life with the constant stream of messages popping up on the screen that is hindering her work.
“It used to give me anxiety because I felt the need to immediately respond, but it would break my rhythm,” she said.
“I would also try to read messages on WhatsApp all the time by pulling down my phone and seeing the opening line, instead of clicking on it, so people wouldn’t see that I was reading it, because I just couldn’t watch a movie or a show without having to constantly stare at my phone.’
WhatsApp dominated Pearl Kasirye’s life as she used it for work, school and personal messaging.
But the 25-year-old PR consultant at Magic PR got tired of it. To escape its clutches, she changed her number and only gave it to close friends and family.
“WhatsApp is so annoying sometimes, but I’ve found a great way to drown out all the noise because I now rely on SMS and I’ve noticed people text me less and just call me instead,” she told MailOnline.
“I got really tired of my notifications going off all day and having to be ‘always on’ as part of the jobs I was doing. This decision to stick with SMS has made my life easier and eased some of my worries about to constantly send text messages.’
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