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Here's why I dumped WhatsApp for Facebook Messenger

Here's why I dumped WhatsApp for Facebook Messenger

I've been using WhatsApp obsessively for several years now, but the time has come to dump it. I'm dumping WhatsApp for Facebook Messenger. Yes, I've been using Messenger for longer and Facebook owns them both anyway, but this is kind of a big deal. If messaging platforms are the future of mobile tech, then, right now at least, WhatsApp is the most important app in the world. Here's the story behind my decision to dump it.

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Yes, I'm dumping WhatsApp. / © ANDROIDPIT

How I first started using Messenger and why I stopped

I first began using Facebook Messenger in 2007, back when it was only available in the web version of Facebook. I was a university student at the time and the world was a different place. The first iPhone was released on June 29 and, back then, not one person I knew had a smartphone. Apps were something you still installed on PCs. Facebook, or as some of my friends called it, “the Facebook”, was new and fresh. In 2007, Facebook was still largely a platform used within university social circles. To give some context, the ability to '@ tag' friends wasn’t introduced until September 2009.

Facebook Messenger was launched on August 9, 2011. At the time, Facebook had already exploded in popularity as a networking and business tool and a standalone messaging app made sense. But I was happy to continue using it from within the Facebook app. Skip forward to April 2014, and Facebook did a really annoying thing – it shut down messaging functionality in its main app, forcing millions of people to download the Messenger app if they wanted to continue texting. I was one of those Facebook users who didn’t want to be forced into downloading yet another app I hadn’t needed before, so I never downloaded it.

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My first days with Messenger began a long time ago. / © ANDROIDPIT

When WhatsApp came, it took over my life

The early phase of my life with Messenger was in Australia, where I grew up. At the time of Messenger’s boom in popularity, most people I knew sent regular text messages thanks to the prevalence of unlimited texting contracts. But things changed when I moved to Berlin, Germany. As in many European countries, the virtually unlimited volume of texts one can send via WhatsApp made it the messaging app of choice.

So less than one week after relocating, I dropped the stock messaging app from my home screen dock and replaced it with WhatsApp. It has been there ever since, and WhatsApp has been my most-used app for more than two years. I even recently wrote about how WhatsApp could soon replace Android itself as a mobile platform. Nowadays, most of my friends live within a WhatsApp world. It’s not hard to understand why it’s the world’s most popular messaging app.

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Letting go of WhatsApp has been hard... / © ANDROIDPIT

How Messenger came back into the fold

But as my social habits have changed, so have my digital communication practices. When I meet someone new, the question of how we should stay in contact arises. And guess what the answer is every time? “Friend me on Facebook.” We then go on to find, friend and Facebook one another from this point onward.

Exchanging phone numbers takes a little more effort, so it’s always the second-best option. But without a phone number, WhatsApp is useless. Now an ever-greater amount of my daily daily messaging is done through Facebook Messenger, which I decided to download earlier this year after a long hiatus. Once the Facebook wave began to pick up more momentum in my social, the tide turned more in favor of Facebook Messenger.

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I'm texting my colleagues to break the news. / © ANDROIDPIT

Why I decided to dump WhatsApp for Messenger

My WhatsApp chats have since gathered dust. Even as new features are added – and with video calling not far away – I find myself using WhatsApp less than ever. How many of these friends do I WhatsApp message regularly? Honestly, probably only a couple of people. In light of this wave I’m now riding, if people I meet are not on Messenger, how can we be friends?

OK, I’m being a little dramatic. The reality is that I’m simply not using WhatsApp much anymore. I really like the app – it’s just not as relevant for me as it once was. I haven't decided to delete it, I’m just not actively using it anymore. Perhaps a lot of AndroidPIT readers feel the same way; maybe we’ve reached Peak WhatsApp. If we have, I blame old fashioned and clunky phone numbers for it. Names are more ‘optimized’ for socializing than phone numbers – that’s the truth.

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The more friends I make, the less I need WhatsApp. / © ANDROIDPIT

How we might choose messaging platforms in the future

Everyone has their own preferences for messaging platforms. Do you communicate on different platforms with different people? I do: that’s the beauty of choice within the Android ecosystem. Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat, Hangouts...the list gets much longer. Know what you like, know what the benefits of each are and decide what you prefer. But most of all – have fun messaging your friends and family. That’s more important than which platform we decide to obsess over.

Which is your messaging platform of choice? Are you using WhatsApp less these days? Let me know in the comments.

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  • I never liked WhatsApp

    If you use Facebook then you are stuck with Facebook Messenger (unless you tell those you know on social networks to text message you)

    A shame Google+ did not grow further (easiest messaging without having to download a separate app)

  • Tywin May 10, 2016 Link to comment

    Is this a desperate attempt to push Facebook Messenger? I think so. I really can’t think of a strong enough reason to dump Whatsapp for another IM that isn’t anywhere near as convenient, quick and reliable. You’re seriously arguing that adding someone’s phone number is more of a chore than searching for a person on Facebook, sending a friend request and waiting for their approval of that friend request? People have been exchanging phone numbers for decades. The process is as effortless as it’s always been. Those important friends that you apparently keep in regular contact with on Facebook are surely in your phone book too (unless you don’t ever feel the need to speak to them?), and so that automatically makes them available on your Whatsapp.

    Like other have already suspected, a weak attempt to push Facebook’s Messenger for no justified reason.

    • Hey Tywin, thanks for your comment. My aim with this article was to explain how Messenger has managed to become my main messaging platform again, even though WhatsApp is more popular right now. In sharing my experiences over the years, I hoped that AndroidPIT readers might agree/disagree and share their own opinions too.
      As you can see from what I've written, I'm not encouraging anyone to switch to Messenger, or to stop using WhatsApp. I'm simply sharing my experiences.
      I also haven't suggested that exchanging phone numbers is a chore - it's just that it never really happens when I meet people anymore and this has affected how I socialize online. I think this is part of a bigger story of how mobile platforms have created the big telecommunications shift we're seeing unfold. I wouldn't be surprised if phone numbers eventually had as little relevance to our social communications as IP addresses have to surfing the internet each day.
      Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do. I'm sharing my experiences and asking you guys to share yours too. And I'm glad to see this topic is generating some interesting discussion.

    • I don't think he is trying to push FM, but I think he couldn't find a topic for an article. I find it much easier to write and save somebody's number on my phone than write down and for the spelling if someone's name and search FB

  • I stopped using WhatsApp when it deleted all my messages when I changed SIM card. That was over six years ago. Facebook Messenger is a much better fit. It will run on all your phones and tablets at the same time. Messages are keep for two year (last I checked) and you can search for them on the website. No more dependency on a SIM card. No need to backup recent messages, or lose messages between devices.

    • That's quite oldschool dude.. WhatsApp is quite suited to backup your data.

    • Alex May 9, 2016 Link to comment

      Dude facebook is not personal at all!!messaging should be personal and facebook uses all your data !and whatsapp is best for personal messaging!

  • As mentioned before, I really don't think that entering a phone number is anymore trouble then looking someone up on Facebook, especially when there is more then one person with a similar name (Facebook doesn't use any useful filters here). Furthermore I find WhatsApp to be a more intimate platform compared to Facebook, where one tends to add people much easier.

  • I've started being fed up with Whatsapp as well, and I'm slowly making Viber my most used messenging app. However I wouldn't recommend you to use Facebook messenger, the app is a battery drainer

  • i use line and IT works perfect

  • hahahahaha.......i think fb pay u to advertise its one of shits messenger lolz..........fb messenger is ram hungry....battery hungry....even not stable...slow thn whatsapp....still love for fb messenger shows u r drunken or u r advertising it

  • Alex May 9, 2016 Link to comment

    Whatsapp is as easy as it gets where as in Facebook you gotta send request to a person the person should accept it where as in Whatsapp it automatically uses your contacts and also adding and storing contacts are as simple as it gets I completely disagree with this and also I dumped or not using messenger for a while because it didn't seem to be personal for me where as facebook can use my data messaging should always be personal so Whatsapp is best for personal messaging!!

  • Hahaha..hhhhm sounds like an advertising article... anyways I disagree with your comment about much more effort to add a number...it take just about he same effort to go online to search for a friend, which you probably find 1 million people with the same name and then have to filter through to find the right friend...LOL...bottom line Facebook is just annoying period!!!!

  • storm May 9, 2016 Link to comment

    There is no value addition to these Facebook chats. It lacks the professional separation of work and play, opens you to privacy violations and adds an invasive third party to it all. Why is this a good idea again? Because phone numbers are just so hard to enter into your phone?

    • Bill May 9, 2016 Link to comment

      Facebook Messenger is awful, but the fact that WhatsApp needs a phone number makes it a pain if you travel between countries a lot and switch to local sim cards for cheaper data rates etc. Facebook doesn't need that, no matter what country I am in, my Facebook details never change.

      • dont be over smart buddy once u activated with no. same no. work every where .....u just need internet .......Omar Hamwi explain it before u like this cmnt

      • Alex May 9, 2016 Link to comment

        Actually!!WhatsApp rocks buddy!and even the same with facebook you need internet and whatsapp is just amazing once you installed it and registered it !!you dont need your sim card at all!!where ever you go u just need internet and best part is whatsapp can be used without the need of sim after you register your number and also you can register with any mobile number you can get!!so dont blame it and facebook uses ur data which is not safe!!and messaging should be personal!!!according to me!It definitely should be!!

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