This one is for all the Mr “Don’t-call-me-on-WhatsApps” and the Miss “We-aren’t-cool-like-thats” who ensured that Twitter NG was completely lit up with the green of WhatsApp and Toke Makinwa jokes yesterday. I quite enjoyed the banter and was going to leave it at just that. Because really, the medium a person uses to communicate with anyone is such a banal thing to dedicate talking time to and worse, argue about.
If you disagree with me on that last sentence, please go and argue with @realDonaldTrump.
Yet, you lot made it a whole day’s discussion – talmbout: “Girls like being called, but not WhatsApp call, I feel some type of way when a guy is not using his credit to call me” and “I think calling shows that he’s actually putting some effort into wanting to speak to you. And when I say ‘call’, I don’t mean WhatsApp call”. Heck, Toke is still trending this morning. And then, a colleague sent me an article that was supposed to explain the other point that some of you have been trying to make about WhatsApp being for people who have “reached a certain level of intimacy”.
It was a line in the said article that got me to finally decide to stop acting so #Woke and #OverAllThat and put in a few words before we finally realise we cannot even afford fresh fish in the market and remember it might because your #WCW Diezani may have all of our money.
I digress. The author of the article claims that all the brouhaha is because “…traditional thinking largely deems WhatsApp calls as casual and restricts it to particular arrangements…”
Okay. But how’s this: please talk to me about what “practical thinking” demands?
There was a time when “traditional thinking” required you to go post a letter to your loved one or someone you were serious about. In fact, it also required you to show your affection and dedication by showing up at his/her doorstep as often as you needed to be in their company, I guess. But I bet Toke and all the traditionalists would now argue that that’s no good way to use time if you’re a serious human being. I know because she claims a person who’s always chatting you up has nothing important to do. Or maybe that was an argument by one of those in support – I’m no longer sure.
Another point that was made in favour of the #WokeLikeToke argument is this one:
“For example, if it’s necessary you call, you wouldn’t call a company you are seeking employment from via WhatsApp.”
Let’s toy with this example then: The millions who got their Ivy league admissions/dream multi national jobs via Skype interviews. Because a smart institution would rather use the most practical means of communication. They could have asked applicants to send emails with recorded statements as attachments along with resumés (and some still do) but they opt instead for a more interactive platform WHICH (and this is the most instructive part) costs them little or nothing extra to them.
Here is the reason why that is instructive (and the real point I’m trying to get across): the way that the world is set up now, OTT (Over The Top) services are taking over.
Why that is the case is a more important conversation than whatever “traditional thinkers” have designated as the appropriate method of communication in any situation.
The reason why Instagram will continue to beat Snapchat – with all its amazing filters and its Spectacles – is simple: because Instagram offers an all-in-one service. Your mum who only knew how to use Facebook will soon join you on Instagram (if unlike mine, she hasn’t yet) because everything is so linked and so configured to do extra. It’s also the reason why WhatsApp will forever beat your favourite mobile service providers and all the scam that they dream up in the name of best call rates.
There’s only so much you can do with regular credit. And if N18, 000 data per month gets me everything that WhatsApp currently offers – calls, video calls, cross platform messaging, ability to retract messages, ability to hide/block/ignore unwanted communications – (and then some more YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter you name it), why would I even want to spend money unwisely by buying N500 credit daily in addition to some flimsy and capped N3, 000 data that still needs to be topped within the month? Do the maths please, then let’s move on to the next exercise.
Why on God’s planet are we stuck on HOW a person contacts you? Have you been contacted? Do you not want to be contacted?
We should be having conversations around to what extent should laws be amended to allow for seeking restraining orders against people who violate the “spaces” we consider personal. And conversations like to what extent should the words “stalker” and “stalking” be modified in a world were communication methods are leaping out of control.
We should be having conversations about the prospects of ensuring these OTT service providers are held accountable for the quality of their services (side eye: the two-minute lag that ruins WhatsApp calls in Nigeria). Such that in the end they either take charge of providing internet along side their original services or better yet, your internet service provider offers alternative services. Imagine a Nigeria where texting,calling, multimedia messaging etc came free from your service provider based on your subscription. What then would Toke have to say? Will she still think it’s cheap/lack of effort if a guy called her? Which is part of the argument of those who responded asking her if data used for WhatsApp calls rained like manna from heaven.
Because the bottom line is: calling, messaging and other services offered by WhatsApp, Skype, Viber and soon enough Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter have no use for what is traditional and they are taking over modes of communications/staying connected.
Toke, Glo,MTN,Airtel,9mobile and every other person that’ll rather be traditional can sit there whining about how they miss the old days when people spent money on credit or they can elevate their thinking to finding means of maximising the potentials that lay within the new world order i.e profiting from data sales and for individuals, maximising the value they paid for the data service.
Finally, why on earth will you want to be with a wasteful human who still spends money on traditional credit when there’s so much value left unused on their data subscription? Why are you still thinking like you are Two thousand and late?
Your futuristic fairy godmother.