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Day 21

WhatsApp Is For Your Convenience, Not Theirs

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You bought a smartphone for your convenience, noone elses.

Messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, change that dynamic. When not kept in check these apps put you in a reactive state at the mercy of your contacts. Whether that be your boss, family or friends you feel compelled to stop what you’re doing to give them a quick response.

Strategies

Follow these simple strategies for staying in control of your WhatsApp conversations.

Turn off read receipts

Read receipts are known to keep us in the app longer. If a sent message is quickly received and seen, you’ll expect a quick response. You’ll wait around instead of putting down your smartphone and enjoying the present moment. Read receipts induce anxiety (‘what is this person doing instead of giving me a response’) and potentially depressive moods. We recommend turning off read receipts for a calmer messaging experience.

To turn off read receipts…

  1. Tap the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  2. Tap ‘Settings’
  3. Tap ‘Account’
  4. Tap ‘Privacy’
  5. Deselect ‘Read receipts’

Turn off last seen

WhatsApp’s ‘Last seen’ feature shows when people you are conversing with were last seen. On paper it’s useful: see when a person was last engaged with the app so you can set your own expectations for a response. However, in reality it means hanging around when someone was ‘Last seen minutes ago’ or ‘Online now’. Sending a message to later see someone is online without responding can lead to anxiety with the app.

To turn off read receipts…

  1. Tap the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  2. Tap ‘Settings’
  3. Tap ‘Account’
  4. Tap ‘Privacy’
  5. Tap ‘Last seen’
  6. Tap ‘Nobody’

Turn off notifications

WhatsApp has a couple levels of notifications. You can either set system wide defaults for one-to-one conversations and group conversations OR you can mute notifications from a particularly noisy conversation.

To turn off notifications system wide…

  1. Tap the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  2. Tap ‘Settings’
  3. Tap ‘Notifications’
  4. Under the ‘Message notifications’ heading, go through the option list turning each off
  5. Then repeat under the ‘Group notifications’ heading

Muting notifications for a period is particularly useful when a group conversation gets out of control and you want to step away.

To turn off notifications on a conversation level…

  1. Tap on the conversation you wish to mute
  2. Tap the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen
  3. Tap ‘Mute notifications’
  4. Tap the period you wish to mute for ‘8 hours’, ‘1 week’ or ‘1 year’
  5. Tap ‘Ok’

These strategies can also be adopted on other messaging apps. We hope you find these strategies useful to improve your WhatsApp experience.

Author

Fraser Deans

Today's article was written by Fraser Deans. Fraser is a Digital Product Designer and founder of The Wholesome Technology Company, focused on practicing and spreading ideas for living well with technology.

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