Death of WhatsApp? Texters switching back to 'chic' old-fashioned SMS

The death of WhatsApp? How a generation of texters are switching back to ‘chic’ old-fashioned SMS as pressure to be constantly contactable leaves them with ‘anxiety’

People are turning their backs on WhatsApp and returning to old-fashioned ‘chic’ SMS as the pressure to be constantly contactable is leaving them with ‘anxiety’. 

Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging service is too ‘invasive’ with people saying the constant bombardment of notifications means they are switching back to iMessage and a simpler form of texting.

WhatsApp is currently undergoing a makeover but the sleek new look may not be enough to win back those who have jumped ship.

One of those is dating expert Clarissa Bloom, 34, who on average would receive around 300 messages a day from the 12 groups she was in.  

The sight of a WhatsApp message pinging up on her phone would leave her stomach in knots ‘like I had just consumed copious amounts of caffeine’ even after she had muted nine of the groups. 

Do YOU prefer SMS to WhatsApp? Email [email protected] 

The constant bombardment of notifications on WhatsApp is turning people off the messaging service as people turn back to old-fashioned SMS

A mock up WhatsApp conversation with the blue ticks showing the messages have been read. Many have pointed to this being a bugbear meaning they feel ‘obliged to respond’

‘It just felt overwhelming and stressful, even though the messages were always nice posts from friends and family,’ she told MailOnline. 

She points to WhatsApp desktop wreaking havoc with her daily life with the constant stream of messages popping up on the screen hampering her work. 

‘It used to give me anxiety as I felt the need to instantly respond, however it would break up my rhythm,’ she said.

‘I would also try constantly to read messages on WhatsApp by flicking my phone down and seeing the opening line, rather than clicking on it, so people didn’t see I read it, as I simply couldn’t watch a movie or a show without having to constantly stare at my phone.’

All that changed when Clarissa ‘unintentionally’ switched back to SMS when she got a new phone and didn’t bother to install WhatsApp. 

Her life is better for it albeit she has to constantly explain to people to text her when they say to her ‘I tried WhatsApping you’. 

‘My mind is definitely more relaxed for it, I don’t feel the need to answer straight away and it has also pushed me not to check my phone between work hours, which has increased my concentration and productively significantly,’ she says. 

One of the main bugbears is the ‘nightmare’ of people seeing you have read a message, meaning ‘I would feel obliged to respond’, Clarissa says.

‘Another factor is the way people message on WhatsApp. When people used to write on texts or email, you would write a long message, then wouldn’t expect a response for a day. 

‘MSN was the “old school” instant chat messenger, where instant replies would be expected unless you were set to “offline” or “busy”. But with WhatsApp, it’s like you’re permanently set to “online” and people can be offended if you take too long to respond.’

She’s seen it cause problems between couples too as part of her day job at The Stag Company often hearing people complaining their partner doesn’t respond to messages quickly enough. 

She added: ‘This instant expectation can add stress to relationships, especially when someone may already be dealing with a stressful task at work or potentially in reverse order, they may be doing a house chore or be looking after a baby and not have the time to instantly answer.’ 

Dating expert Clarissa Bloom, 34, is one of those who has turned their backs on WhatsApp after messages popping up on her screen left her with a knot in her stomach 

WhatsApp dominated Pearl Kasirye’s life as she used it for work, school, and personal messaging. 

But the 25-year-old PR consultant at Magic PR grew tired of it. To escape its clutches she resorted to changing her number and only gave it to close friends and family. 

‘WhatsApp is so annoying at times, but I have found a good way to drown out all the noise because I now rely on SMS and I’ve noticed that people text me less frequently and just call me instead,’ she told MailOnline.

READ MORE: WhatsApp is getting a makeover: Leaked images reveal an entirely new design coming to iPhone and Android

‘I got really tired of my notifications going off all day and having to “constantly be on” as part of the jobs I was doing. This decision to stick to SMS has made my life easier and eased some of my anxieties about constant texting.’ 

James Bore runs second-generation family tech and security consultancy Bores and says every message is like someone ‘tapping you on the shoulder and forcing your brain to task switch’. 

The 40-year-old told MailOnline: ‘That is not only exhausting, but breaking up the flow of work means it takes longer and happens at a lower quality.’

He thinks a permanent or temporarily switch to retro messaging will help people ‘batch’ their interruptions. 

‘While SMS is still “instant”, often people don’t expect the same immediate response they do with a platform such as WhatsApp where your online status is visible, so it’s assumed that you’re available at all times you’re online,’ he said.

‘No humans can multitask, it’s purely switching between different things rapidly – and it takes the same effort to switch to replying to an instant message as any other interruption or change in what you’re doing.’

Stylist Flo Swift, 31, thinks iMessage is ‘so much chicer’ and told The Times she feels like people who WhatsApp her are ‘looking through their phone at me’. 

‘It gives me anxiety. There’s always people typing things that I don’t want to respond to,’ she said. 

While artist Grace Armstrong, 26, feels iMessage is a lot healthier and loves its simplicity. 

She told The Times: ‘I find that texts feel more sincere – if someone has texted you it feels more legit and real than a WhatsApp.’ 

‘I love it when a boy texts, it feels like such a green flag,’ she added.

Do YOU prefer SMS to WhatsApp? Email [email protected] 

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