Sir, there’s no time to be beating around the bush. Just in the few hours that WhatsApp was down, I had peace like never before. It is the best few hours of my life since I moved abroad. Do you know how many money calls I get on a daily? A few of them are genuine calls for genuine reasons but most of the time they are mostly foolish calls and for foolish reasons.
Calls from family…Including nieces and nephews. From friends, old and new. Calls from friends are most times the more annoying ones, because of their spirit of entitlement. So let me not even go there right now because I have friends that keep on calling from left, right and centre. And what about former schoolmates? And former neighbours too? – Not next-door neighbours alone, even those I used to live with in the same estate. They are the ones that call and introduce themselves with names I haven’t heard of in my life. These are the ones who end their calls with hisses or insults when they didn’t get their desired response?
Mark, a lot of us living abroad have heard and seen shege because of WhatsApp.
Yesterday morning here before WhatsApp went down, I got a call from an old schoolmate… Not even from secondary school ooo, she is an old friend from way back in Primary school. Primary 4 to be exact. We shared the same seat in class for one term only before her parents moved to a different part of town and had her transferred to a school closer to their home. Imagine this person calling after such a long time to tell me her son just broke their TV.
“How did you get my contact?”
She answered with the usual format which always doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. That she was simply scrolling down her phone contact and saw my name and decided to call and say hello. Trust me, it was nice hearing from her after so many years, but calling the very minute after her son smashed their TV? C’mon sis.
Mark you gotta do something.
Think of it… She called for me to send her money to buy a new TV… because I live in the US where we pluck money from trees.
See what WhatsApp is causing? How was her TV my concern? She did not ask if I had drunk tea myself that morning or had anything to eat at all. Of course, it wasn’t her concern. It was 2 AM my time, but trust callers from home..especially the ones from WhatsApp, they know how to feign ignorance of the time difference.
This is not even the worst call I have had on WhatsApp. Sometime in December last year, I updated my status that I would be back home for Christmas and as soon as I did, even before my status finished updating, a friend called immediately to ask if she should start planning her wedding to her long time sweetheart. The long time sweetheart part shocked me. As in, was I supposed to agree because of that? I said I didn’t understand what she was saying. And sincerely I didn’t. How does my visiting Nigeria mean she should start planning her wedding. She reminded me of the guy… to say, he is someone I know from my old neighbourhood. She even requested to know the exact date and time of my return. Audacity is a disease everyone back home has. And it has become chronic in the past year since the pandemic.
I was certain that my friend meant it and would have printed her invitation card with my name as the chairman of the occasion if I did not cut her in her tracks. But the insults she showered on me that morning is a story for another day.
You see what I am talking about Mark Zuckerberg? Can you see what those of us living abroad are facing?
This is not to say we don’t get the normal phone calls… but I can tell you that since I have been living here, I can actually count the times I have received a call that is not from WhatsApp.
Even when they manage to call with their credit, they make sure it doesn’t last more than 30 seconds. It is simply… “Hello sis, how you dey? I am just calling to say hello to you, please take care of yourself… God bless you. Goodbye”.
Yes… that is the whole call right there. Kpakam! – straight to the point.
Mark, my people are very smart. They know they can’t call and ask me for money and walk away like that. They know that with me there is bound to be some haggling – engaging back and forth that can sometimes stretch for hours.
“Why are you asking for this much?” “You think because I am not in Nigeria, I don’t know what is happening?” – “That small thing for how much ehn?” – “Why do you even need it?” – “Must you buy it now?” -“Are you sure?” – “Ok, how soon do you need it?” – “What did you say is the cost again?” – “Can you go back to the shop and price it well?” – At this point, you would think they would be exhausted and simply cut the call… but trust my people, after all, it is a WhatsApp call. They are always ready before pressing the dial button.
The few times they made the mistake of trying to call me direct and realize what mistake they have made, Kpakam! They quickly ended the call. The next thing is their face on my screen.
Mark, WhatsApp has become a bone in my neck. My people now tackle me on phone with confidence. Replying to my questions with questions of their own. Back to back and fire for fire, until I am tired out and submit to their demands.
I beg you, let WhatsApp stay down for now. I know it is unrealistic to ask for a permanent shut down of the App, but if you can… you are not only saving me but the millions of us living abroad.
They say you lost 7 billion dollars in just that couple of hours. Looking at it from where I am standing, that may not hurt as much if you have over a hundred billion dollars chilling in your back account…. and you still have Instagram and Facebook which I prefer because I can afford not to go to my inbox. I can pretend I didn’t get any message knowing that facebookers won’t be demanding things on my wall where everyone can see.
Those who will dare will see the eyes on my profile picture and know better.
Thanks, Mark for your consideration.