Why WhatsApp won’t be replaced anytime soon, sadly.

Messaging apps are probably the most talked about apps nowadays, and the ones that we see released and updated more often. Current smartphones have opened the options for messaging to become more than just text, but by any means actual text has been replaced and therefore messaging keeps being mostly about it. Sure, people love GIFs, I am addicted to them; but the core keeps being typing and reading. Other features like video calls aren’t really something that have to be a part of a messaging app (like WIRED mentioned they are still awkward), and either are audio calls.

WhatsApp is the most used messaging app right now because it does texting through an internet connection easy while being cross-platform (iMessages does this too and it even combines SMS, but since it is only available in iOS it isn’t as huge as WhatsApp). Yet, this doesn’t mean that the now owned Facebook app is the most convenient. I have written many times about how much I hate the app for only being tied to a phone number, for not living in the cloud, for being slow at implementing features like GIFs (which are not present yet) and way more things, like now being tied to Facebook. So if there are better alternatives, why won’t people switch?

  • Because people are used to it: this is the primary reason that I have witnessed. Some weeks ago I had a conversation about social media with a friend and she didn’t even hesitate to tell me that she loves WhatsApp because it already comes installed in her phone, which by the way is completely false. Yet, that is the perception she has and it is caused by the fact that WhatsApp is the standard.
  • Because people are conformist: they don’t want to go through the trouble of downloading another app and as I said in the previous point they are used to WhatsApp, so moving to another service seems like something they are afraid of doing and even feel lazy about so they just conform with what they are used to.
  • Because most people don’t care, probably: I said “probably” because I still keep hope alive on people starting to worry about the way they communicate with their phones, after all it is their primary communication tool nowadays. And yet, they are so used to one app that they don’t even care about being informed about it, on trying new apps and even improving their lives with their phones.
  • And ultimately, because convincing people to move is almost impossible: because of the previous points, asking someone to download and use another app because it is better (and even after explaining every difference and benefit) it is like asking a kid to stop eating candy.

I feel forced to keep using WhatsApp because here everyone uses it and if I leave, I will even miss work and projects communications. So what happens is that I am always trying new apps and wanting to switch but since people don’t, I end up uninstalling all those apps and sticking with WhatsApp even if I hate it and know that there are better options.

What can be done? I really don’t know, but I would dare to say that those of us that really care about these things should keep trying and make people care more about these things and lead them towards educating on these topics, because as I said previously, our communications now depend in a big part on our phones and messaging apps.