The annoying features of WhatsApp

Since Mark Zuckerberg decided to pay Shs 1.6 trillion for WhatsApp, the equivalent of Kenya’s annual budget and about 50% of our GDP, I thought it wise to also be on WhatsApp. Before, I used to be a “call-me I call-you” guy. I never liked text messages and instructed my friends to only text me whenever the message requires future referencing e.g. a contact information or similar.

I still do not do text messages. When one of my best friends started texting me back and forth simply to find out how my trip from his place to Nakuru had been a few weeks ago, I got so annoyed by the endless text messages so I had to call to tell him to either call or WhatsApp.

Then I thought to myself, why would I feel comfortable on WhatsApp but not on the ordinary texting? Isn’t texting via the default message App requires the same effort as texting via WhatsApp? Or am I unconsciously mindful of the one bob per text? I still do not have proper answers to these questions.

So my friend agreed to be Whatsapping me back and forth. And I liked it…not until I tried to view his picture. He had put this nice pic he had taken at Nakuru National Park as his WhatsApp profile pic. From the chat Interface, I attempted to view the pic by pressing on the pic, but instead of WhatsApp opening up the pic, the App took me back to chats. I opened the chat again, tried pressing the pic but now ensuring I did not press anywhere outside the pic, but I was again taken back to chats. The third time I decided to press on his name, was taken to his profile info, and from there I was able to view the picture. Come-on WhatsApp, the inability to view a profile picture by pressing on it from a chat interfere is rather annoying. Please remove this annoying feature….or lack thereof.

That’s not the only annoying feature on WhatsApp, there are two more. The second feature is on contacts. Ever since I started using WhatsApp it’s like I’ve become a WhatsApp addict. Every now and then I find myself going to the contacts to see who is new on WhatsApp (judging by the increased number of names on WhatsApp contact list), and every so often I select one contact to either view their profile info or to message them. Then there are those so many occasions when I decide to only have a quick peek on the profile and “go back to contact list”. But whenever I decide to have that quick peek to go back to the contact list, I find myself, not back to the contact list, but back to chats. Why is it impossible to just go back to contact list? I have since contacted WhatsApp over the issue and they replied that they will work on it. Hopefully the next update will ensure one can always go back to where they came from when browsing WhatsApp.

Then there is the issue of not being able to “appear offline” or “Invisible” just as we do on Facebook or Skype respectively. With Skype one can choose to be Online, Away, Do not disturb, Invisible, or Offline. Facebook allows one to turn off chat. But the only way to be offline on WhatsApp is by not opening the App.

There are so many times one would rather not chat with some people but at the same time not ignore others. The best way to do this is to be Invisible like on Skype or appear Offline to those you don’t want to talk to as in the case of Facebook. But in WhatsApp, if there is someone you would rather ignore while chatting with others, the person will just have to know that you have ignored him/her as they will see your status as Online or your time stamp will betray you.

There are however a few Apps that have been made to make sure that you don’t appear Online or retain your previous time stamp whenever you access WhatsApp. These Apps however work by turning your data or Wi-Fi connection off so are only useful for reading already sent messages while “appearing offline” but can’t be useful when you want to chat with some friends as you ignore others.

The inability to press on a pic from a chat Window and view it, inability to go back to contact list after opening one contact, and inability to appear offline are very annoying features of WhatsApp. Hopefully they’ll be able to rectify them as soon as yesterday.


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