With over a Billion monthly active user base, Whatsapp is easily the world’s biggest instant messaging platform. On its 8th birthday in early February, Whatsapp introduced a new feature by the name of ‘Status’.
With all the internet buzz around the feature, people are left wondering about the concept of ‘Status’. Here we decode the latest feature for you:
What is ‘Status’?
WhatsApp’s latest feature allows users to put up a Status in the form of an Image, GIF or a Video. The fun part about it is that these Statuses will last for only 24 hours and then be removed automatically.
Remember how you used to put up a cool single-liner as a Status and then forget about it. This new feature will not allow you to be dormant and still be visible on the platform. If you want to be in people’s eyes, you have to post regular Status updates, a fresh one daily.
How does it work?
Let us remember the older WhatsApp version for a minute. Three columns were placed from left to right, namely ‘Calls’, ‘Chats’ and ‘Contacts’. To view anyone’s text-based Status, you could swipe to the Contacts list.
In the WhatsApp ‘Status’ update, the columns have been rearranged to include a column wholly dedicated to the Statuses being put by your contacts. The ‘Chat’ section has been shifted to the left and works just as before. The ‘Calls’ section has been moved to the extreme right.
Two new columns shape the entire new update. In the ‘Status’ section in the middle, you can view any updates being put by your contacts. If a contact puts up more than one Status update in a day, those statuses will appear consecutively under the same contact name. Look for the White bar on top. The number of parts it is split into indicates the number of statuses that person has put.
To toggle between these statuses, you can simply tap the screen or swipe in any direction you want to toggle. WhatsApp will display the next person’s Status upon swiping. There is also an option of ‘Mute’ on the top right which will prevent any further Status by that contact to be shown in your ‘Status’ feed.
To promote interactivity amongst users, WhatsApp has included an option of ‘Reply’ on the bottom of each status. This allows you to send a direct message to the person encapsulating the Status on which you are replying.
Now let’s focus on how to put up a status. The ‘Camera’ icon on the extreme left opens up your camera and lets you quickly capture an image, make a video or upload from your library as a Status. The suggestion bar also shows images from your recent WhatsApp chats.
Alternatively, under the column ‘Status’, you can click on the ‘My Status’ option on the top and put up a new status.
After selecting an image to upload, you can write a caption, add text, crop, add an emoji or sketch on the image. This all can be done from a single window right before publishing the Status by the bottom right 'send' icon.
The ‘settings’ panel on the top-right now includes a new option of ‘Status Privacy’ using which you can set a list of contacts which will be able to see your Status Updates. Right next to it is again an option of putting up a new Status.
To delete a Status that you put, open the 'Status' column, click on the Status which you want to delete, then tap on the 'Trash' icon. This window will also show you who all viewed your Status.WhatsApp Status Update: Status Column to view your contacts' status (Left) Status Posting Window 'Right'. (Image: News18.com/ Sarthak Dogra)
Cool or Not?
It depends. If you are a teenager who is fond of regularly uploading your pictures on various Social Media platforms, WhatsApp can potentially be the biggest platform for your online visibility. Good News, right?
On the other hand, if you don’t like facing the camera so much, this update can be completely useless for you and might come as a disadvantage.
Supposing you go out of town for a week or so, the earlier version let you put up a status mentioning that to anyone who tried to contact you through WhatsApp. That option has gone to the winds now and no longer can people know what you are up to if you don’t put up a Status daily.
What is all the buzz around it?
A long story of rivalries amongst two tech giants can be blamed for such an update. Facebook, easily the biggest of all the social media platforms, has made repeated efforts to acquire SnapChat in the past. While Facebook successfully took hold of WhatsApp and Instagram, two biggest platforms in their respective line of purpose, Snapchat Co-Founders turned down Mark Zuckerberg’s offers on several occasions.
Mark Zuckerberg is since then trying to put Snapchat out of business by rolling out similar features on his own platforms. Instagram ‘Stories’ and WhatsApp ‘Status’ are big enough proofs of that.
Snapchat came up with the idea of renewed Statuses in every 24 hours back in 2011. The app is still a big hit and now that it is about to declare its IPO, might become a serious contender to Facebook-owned platforms in the smartphone segment.
WhatsApp has the largest user base and with such a feature can potentially be harmful to Snapchat’s growth. This, only if WhatsApp plays its cards right and keeps its user base happy.
Keeping this in mind, there are reports of WhatsApp bringing back the old text Status option, upon the requests of a large portion of its user base.