By Martin Minns
WhatsApp uses (and there’s over one billion of them worldwide) may be relieved to hear that the ubiquitous instant messaging service will shortly introduce a feature that allows users to delete a message for all people within a conversation. So before long, if you’ve sent a message to the wrong person or group, you’ll be able to remedy the error – if you’re quick enough.
As matters stand, if you accidentally send a sexy message to your local church group (it happened to one Bro Ocholla !) there’s no way of deleting or retrieving it other than removing the message for the person who sent it, which is a fat lot of good to anyone. The recipients can still ‘share’ the message as much as they like (and if it’s really embarrassing, they will!).
DELETE FOR ALL
The new feature will give users an option to “delete for everyone”, removing the chat message for all – sender and recipients alike. Replacing the message sent in error will appear one which reads, “This message was deleted”.
It’s not unalloyed good news however. If you’re going to delete a message you will have to move fast. WhatsApp will only give users seven minutes from the time the message was originally sent before the option to delete runs out. After that there will be no one of deleting messages for everyone.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction, I just wish WhatsApp would go further. And here’s why.
SMART PHONES, DUMB MESSAGES
For reasons I can’t remember I joined several WhatsApp groups but I’ve been removing myself from one group after another ever since. WhatsApp is described in part as ‘a freeware and cross-platform instant messaging service for smartphones’. What I didn’t take into account is that smart phones are not necessarily owned by smart people and even smart people send dumb messages on smart phones – and so many of them!
Fair enough, WhatsApps marketeers couldn’t exactly sell the service on the basis it was a freeware cross-platform for multiples of utterly inane comments and waste-of-time messages from people who’ve seemingly got nothing else better to do.
One of the problems with WhatsApp is that it not only gives people a chance to comment, they feel they ought to comment when they would in fact be doing the entire group a great service by remaining silent. And they think that by commenting they have somehow done something useful.
“GREAT ONE!”, “AWESOME”, “WHOA!”, AARRGH!
Let me give you an example.
Your send your boss a message on a work group saying that you have delivered something, done something, completed some task or other. He/she replies, “Well done and thank you”. All well and good. The boss knows the job has been done and can tick it of his/her list and everyone else is informed.
What happens next? The inane messages start poring in from people who should have better things to do and/or whose opinion doesn’t really matter anyway.
“Nice one Martin”.
And then there’s those b***** Emojis!
I’m not sure whether it’s the waste of time, the inanity of the messages, or the misuse of the English I detest most.
I can believe that the view at the Grand Canyon at daybreak is just about “awesome!”. Reporting that you’ve delivered a parcel is not. Nor does it warrant “Whoa!”
WhatsApp groups can be useful. They can be fun. But please WhatsApp, after you’ve introduced the ‘delete for all’ option, could you please install a junk message application that screens out superfluous messages, leaving in its place the words, “You message wasn’t worth relaying”.
Ah, why do I bother? Hardly anyone will be reading this posting by now, given that it’s over 147 characters long.