WhatsAppening? : Qué pasa?

¿Qué pasa? is the first thing you ask when you enter your regular bar, in Arrecife, Lanzarote.
Without looking back the men at the small tables shrug their shoulders and reply ‘¿Aqui?’ (Here?) and return back to their daily business.

Life in Social media is slightly different:

 Lately, Whatsapp appears often in the headlines of the news.
WhatsApp used to be a funny little gadget on your phone to send a little red heart to your boyfriend or girlfriend, but during the last two years it has become an indispensable part of modern life.

How did this happen? Easy:
¹) It is free, the magical word for success, ²) it is very easy to use and ³) the cheerful Samsung whistle that you can hear on most phones when a message is received, all three have contributed to the enormous success in a very short period of time.

But  now (19 february 2014)  Facebook bought the company WhatsApp for no less than
16 billion dollar, that is a lot of money, or mucho dinero as we tend to say here.
Everybody knows that there is no such thing as a free lunch,  and WhatsApp has no revenues,  it is after all a free service. Those 16 billion have to be earned back, one way or the other. And where will the money come from? Correct; Advertising!
Everybody 5 or 10 free WhatsApp messages per day from eDarling, Durex, Unilever, Vodafone? Who will tell?

Some will say that, ‘next year you have to pay $1 (or €1 or £1 ?) per year, and that will cover everything!‘ well, …., no, not really. There are roughly 400 million WhatsApp users, lets make this an easy number: half a billion. In that case the investment of 16 billion can be  returned after 32 years, an eternity these days!
Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder, is not going to wait for 32 years on his precious money, the man was born in 1984, he is 30 years old for Pete’s sake!
So it will probably turn out as an advertising machine. Are you going to like it? Don’t know.

Experts yell  ‘bye bye privacy‘, and yep, that is true, you can kiss privacy goodbye.
But we already said goodbye to privacy some 20 years ago when we started to google everything on the internet  (is it really that long ago? Yes, google started in 1995).
With each and every click on the google page we forfeit on privacy. Again and again.


What about this contribution of 1 $,€ or £ per year?
According to WhatsApp the use is free in the first year, subsequently you have to pay
$ 0,99 (= € 0,71 = £ 0,59) per year, still a lot cheaper than Text-messages of telephone companies.
How do you pay? The easiest way  is to pay via PayPal or find a friend who has a PayPal account, give him or her £1 and he or she can transfer the money on your behalf.
Critics on PayPal say that  PayPal is not  100% secure. Yeah right  Barclays, RBS or the other banks are the pillars of modern internet money transfer.
Just use PayPal.


Since a number of days many WhatsApp users get messages from WhatsApp that they should ‘update
in -x days. This is just an iniative from the new owner, Facebook to link  your WhatsApp account to your Facebook Account. You can do the update, but why would you? See also Tips, here below.
Perhaps this is a good time to switch from WhatsApp to one of the alternatives.





Fortunately there are many alternatives for  WhatsApp:

  • Telegram Messenger
    THE Russian alternative for WhatsApp; Russian robustness
    Costs: Free
  • Threema
    The Swiss alternative for WhatsApp; Swiss robustness
    Cost: entrance fee of €1,79
  • Line
    Asian robustness
    Cost: Free
  • Hemlis
    From The Pirate Bay,  all major record companies will probably start to complain about Hemlis because of The Pirate Bay.
    Cost: Free
  • Silent Circle
    Commercial and military  robustness
    Cost: $10,- per month
  • Skype
    Free video telephone with a chat function, is currently part of Microsoft.
    Cost: Basic use is free, for extra functions  you have to pay; For example I have a subscription for €4 per month and can call from Spain any land-line  in Holland for free.
  • and many, many more ….

Whether you switch from WhatsApp to an alternative or not, it is wise to do the following and it’s not very hard to do:
Copy the list of your WhatsApp contacts on paper or another place outside your smartphone. It would be a pity if Facebook would decide to block WhatsApp for whatever reason.

If you switch from WhatsApp to another tools, send a message to all users in your adressbook that says you switched from A) WhatsApp to B)??? 


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