The Digital Conversationalist

WhatsApp nightmare

When did WhatsApp become a collaboration tool? Hint, it’s not

Maybe you think I’m getting old and grumpy, I’m not (although I am – old, not grumpy), but the reality is, I’m frustrated as hell with the way WhatsApp has become the defacto collaboration tool for anything we work on in business today.

WhatsApp is not a collaboration tool! It’s a messaging app and it’s absolutely useless when it comes to collaboration.

The amount of time I lose because WhatsApp is ineffective, inefficient and a complete time waster, well, let me tell you, I’m done. And worse, when I’m volunteering my time and that time is expanded because of inefficient WhatsApp use – NO! Let’s stop this nonsense.

WhatsApp might be convenient for you, but it’s not for me, and here’s why:

  1. I have so many groups (social, business, family, friends, otherwise) and that means hundreds and hundreds of messages are flying around EVERY DAY! I am constantly overwhelmed by WhatsApp (and all of my other messaging apps and social inboxes, and multiple email accounts…). It’s just too much and since COVID19, this surge in noise and communication is worse than ever
  2. Just with WhatsApp, I experimented and found that if I ignore my phone for an hour, I get a minimum 100 messages across my various groups. What’s the chance I’m going to see it all? And worse, people get annoyed because I missed something important!! If it’s important, it shouldn’t be on WhatsApp amongst the myriad nonsense doing the rounds
  3. Do you know how hard it is to find old information on WhatsApp? Do you know how long it takes to scroll to the relevant message you posted an hour ago? AGES because it’s not a collaboration tool, it’s a messaging tool
  4. But wait, I tagged you? Yes, so did 100 other people! Some in a joke, some inviting me to a party, and your request for feedback on whatever it is you want feedback on… It gets lost – you feel me?
  5. I missed an appointment! SORRY!! But when you sent that link and all the information over WhatsApp, guess what? It didn’t make it into my calendar. If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist, because my calendar is bursting from the seams seven days a week! Your calendar might not be that crazy, but mine is! Not to mention, if you are working with, or attempting to attract the attention of senior leadership teams, I reckon they might have overloaded calendars too
  6. WhatsApp is on my phone and I will not put it on my PC – I won’t – and I’ll hold out as long as I can here too. So sending me documents to edit or review…. Not happening – no!!! Please give me some peace on my phone – that’s where I read and watch stuff. I work on my PC – it’s the final frontier in creating a sense of distance between work and life. It’s not much, but it’s what I have been able to create
  7. Not to mention, I can’t read bloody documents on my phone (even on an 8S) and if it’s some sort of graphic, what do you think that experience is like for the intended audience, especially when old-lady eyes start to become a reality?

Come on, technology is supposed to make people’s lives easier, and here we are jumping on technology that does the opposite. I know WhatsApp is a cool technology as a messaging app, but that is all it is.

Use a collaboration app – like Yammer, Slack, Facebook for Business or one of the other ones. You have to spend a bit of time learning how to use them, but that is what they’re awesome for. Getting groups of people, who are working together, effective at the working together bit.

Alright that’s my rare rant for a while, but come on, it’s getting nuts out there. Let’s stop making people work harder than they need to be working. It’s more of that filling-people’s-lives-up-with-useless-activities-when-there-are-better-ways-of-doing-things stuff that we need to start wiping out of the workplace.

The first thing we’ve got to do is think about the user experience. In this case, the user is that group you have on WhatsApp. Is there a better way of running things? Of course, your group might be happy to do things on WhatsApp, but ask. You’ll know my answer if you ask me.

Agree or disagree?



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