I ditched Whatsapp. Here’s why you should, too.
On August 15th 2018, I went cold Turkey: I decided to delete my Whatsapp account.
I was one of their early adopters since 2009, but quitting Whatsapp feels like one of the best decisions I ever made.
Here’s what happened before and after that decision;
Switching back to a dumbphone made me realize – smartphones make us dumb
Right before a camping trip, my Iphone needed to go into repair. So I packed an old Nokia dumbphone instead. Soon I realized how useful a smartphone can be (banking, parking, navigation etc) but how I did NOT miss Whatsapp at all. The neverending notifications, the “always on” feeling and the frantic checking of mostly nonsense.
So when my iPhone came back from repairs, I decide to go cold turkey and DELETED whatsapp
Six reasons for banning whatsapp
- Dopamine. I already switched off all my notifications on all devices, but Whatsapp kept reminding me to switch them back about once every week. Come on, really? No means no!
- Just another inbox. Over time, I felt that Whatsapp was turning into a second email inbox, with people sending over fifty page pdfs and expecting “direct response”.
- If the service is free… Then you are the product. I find it intriguing how people don’t seem to mind facebook being behind it all – and don’t get me started on the false promise of encryption – knowing who you communicate to is just as interesting. In the end, Facebook will most likely merge all their messaging services anyway.
- Data usage. I travel frequently, and still sometimes to places where dataroaming is limited or there is no good data network at all. Sms proved to be far more reliable in those cases.
- Less is more. There was just something magical about the 160 characters limit for a single SMS message. It forced you to be brief and ingenious about your communications. Which is a good thing these days.
- Integration with other apps and services. I love the integration that iOS offers, for instance to send a message when i can’t take a call. Why use a second app for messaging?
Besides that, there is a GREAT ALTERNATIVE called iMessage.
Okay, most of my friends have Apple devices. I just decided not to hangout with Android users anymore. (Just kidding, ofcourse.)
The first 30 days were the hardest…
- Fomo. It was scary to be cutoff from one of our present day common communication channels. I felt no longer part of the secret coffee break conversations.
- Disbelief. People just couldn’t understand nor believe it. After I informed my key contacts, i kept getting invites from new people I’d meet: “Hey, checkout WhatsApp Messenger for your Smartphone. Download it today from xxxx.com”
- Missed dinner invitations. Even my best friends forgot that I was no longer in our shared group. I found out they had met up for dinner and drinks and wondering why I didn’t show up, LOL.
- Peer pressure. Executive and investor boards were the toughest. Explaining to (mostly senior) leading investors, corporate CEO’s and fellow advisory board members was anything but fun. But they’ll catch up eventually, I’m sure.
- Insulting people. I was (unintentionally) ignoring people that messaged me before. This is seriously the most annoying flaw in whatsapp. Even though I deleted my account and Whatsapp assured me that this is irreversible, my conversations apparently are still available to people on the other side. Whats’s even worse, is that they don’t see I no longer exist om whatsapp. They just see I don’t read their messages.
But here’s what I gained in the long run
I gained peace of mind. Being ‘out of the loop’ feels like freedom. I am no longer chased by endless FYI’s, useless jokes and random pictures.
As a result, I experience less anxiety and I feel more present for the important things in life.
Here’s how i make it happen
- I keep explaining to people (i guess i should have written this post earlier)
- I check my email inbox once a day – for the really important stuff
- I use google chat for work – a great alternative for quick communications with colleagues
- I use middlemen – For one group chat, i receive a weekly text export to keep me up to date. For school chats, my wife updates me.
- I call people again – It’s great to hear their voice.
Now, I can’t imagine going back.
Whenever I see people glued to their phones, or hear a salvo of notifications, I wonder: why aren’t more people giving up on whatsapp?
The reduction in anxiety, less distraction. I feel blessed.
Are you ready for it?