Your Status Will Not Be Seen

Almost seven years ago, I wrote a piece on my old blog decrying Kindles and other E-book readers, claiming that it was a screen too far and totally unnecessary. In the seven years that have passed, precisely no one has listened to me, but I have not bought one. I read most things on my phone, and if I ever get the chance to go back to reading fiction, it will still be in its traditional format, new book smell and all.

What is interesting is that in the last couple of years the pace of social media change in some ways has overtaken the pace of technology change. Sure, since 2010 we have had iPhone 4–7 released, various incarnations of tablets, computers and laptops and the advent of the drone. However, currently it feels almost a week goes by without a new feature on one of social media apps we all use.

Which brings me to my current gripe: Whatsapp Status. Previously, when one updated their Whatsapp status, it largely went unnoticed. A bit of text, a little emoji, nothing grand. It seems that the powers that be (Facebook, they own Whatsapp) felt that this did not suffice and have launched Whatsapp Status, a direct clone of Instagram Story (which was a direct copy of Snapchat, but let’s not even go there). It’s been a couple of days now, and the dust has settled slightly. So now is the time to analyse where this new feature will fit into our lives.

I’m no technology expert, however, in my opinion I find the feature highly impractical in more ways than one. Let’s start with the fact that it’s just another social media thing to look at/update. We live in an age where we live vicariously through others, and judge people that we may have never met by the social media updates they produce. Between the “big four” social media apps; Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter a lot of time and energy is invested by people trying to convince everyone else that they are living the “Best. Life. Ever.” Throw in Whatsapp Status and suddenly the market feels very crowded. Even if you genuinely had the best life ever, is there really ever that much going on in your life for you to be able to produce new posts across all formats without duplication?

Now let’s think about who would be able to see all of your statuses. Everyone in your contact list would be able to view and reply your status updates. Do you really know who is in your contact list? Your Mum is on Whatsapp. Your Dad too. That Auntie who you don’t like and lives really far away. Old school friends you haven’t spoken to in years. All those acquaintances whose number you took just to be polite and said you would arrange to meet up with and it never happened. Your boss (if you’re really insane). Do you really want all those people to see your turn up on a Friday night? All the epic bits of your raving holiday? Their prying eyes, watching and judging as you live life as you see fit. Then, they will message you.

“Who is that?”
“Where are you?”
“That looks a bit wild, lol.”

The people behind this idea must have thought it was a great idea as there is an inbuilt audience without the hassle of following/adding. However, the people on your list are probably the very last people you want seeing your life.

Additionally, this is just a clone of a clone, and feels boring. Why have three features over three apps that essentially are the same? Don’t imitate, innovate. I want an update that makes me think: “how did I live without this?”

Whatsapp Status is not one of those things. If you’re anything like me, and I suspect quite a few of you are, I will not be using this new feature. In fact, I won’t even check it.

Your status will not be seen.

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