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The world of apps and the pandemic

Part 2: Are the emails dead?

In my previous blog, I explored briefly about the new lingua franca of the pandemic that was powered by WhatsApp. In this blog I will take a stroll along the scrolling highway of WhatsApp messages, it’s application in business communication, the good, the bad and the ugly of it.

The good

According to Facebook, WhatsApp has immense benefits other than emotive speech. For people working in communications industry, the app’s file sharing and voice notes features are crucial for our daily survival. Since the obligatory response time for texts overtakes that of emails, in context of the lightning speed of client servicing, it is no longer a choice to move with the pace of the emails.

The bad and the ugly  

There used to be a wide chasm between my personal and work life before remote working became a thing. And then, instant messaging came along. “Are u there” followed by a trail of “?????” used to be my wife’s signature move. Now, it seems, she has passed this baton to my colleagues, who use at least four question marks to match the urgency.

Radio silence from client side at times, prompts me to use two or sometimes three question marks but I don’t dare to use all five – a gesture that still solely belong to my wife.

Jokes apart, the fact that WhatsApp makes you “always accessible” is not a pretty sight always!

Taming the beast

While WhatsApp made life easier, the drawbacks, come from the way we tame this communication beast. Personally, I pretend I am still writing emails right down to the habit of using first names while texting. This makes me sound professional and helps me send well-thought-out texts instead of rantings and loads of exclamation marks.

Unlike emails though, I prioritize what needs the most attention and I respond to texts in under five minutes, if I can. Some swear by those tiny blue ticks, which notify the sender that their message has been read. For the more traditional-minded, turning off this notification feature offers some semblance of control over the conversation. Mind you, this can annoy the impatient ones out there who will carpet bomb your phone with “heys” and… “more question marks”.

Soon enough your WhatsApp account may start to resemble the spam folder of a forgotten email address. In that case, consider switching to another phone dedicated to work alone.

Takeaways

What lies beyond the age of WhatsApp is still unknown. In time we might even get better at using it. But that gives rise to a very important question – has the power of emails faded? Has the time come for declaring WhatsApp texts as official?

I would say, eventually, even WhatsApp will fail to be irreplaceable. For who ever thought emails could be a thing of the past?

Yasir Nahim is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me