There doesn’t seem to be a human on this planet — particularly a Millennial — who isn’t attached to his or her cell phone. Between the numerous functions of cell phones, including letting people stay in touch with one another, respond to an email within a minute of receiving it, constantly communicate on social networks, and dress appropriately for the weather, who can blame them? But what happens when this survival tool is taken to another country? Will you still be able to stay connected to the social world that is so important to you? What about keeping in touch with new international friends when you go back home?
WhatsApp Messenger is an application that allows people to text message, email, and send images without paying for SMS. This app is available for smartphones that already charge you for an Internet data plan. Using the phone’s 3G, Edge, or WiFi connection, both parties can keep in touch without paying a single extra penny. With the ability to text internationally, people don’t have to feel disconnected from their friends, family, or the latest news, and this constant communication is of huge importance to Millennials.
As a college student, many of my friends are studying abroad, and this is the best way for me to keep in touch with them without having to sit down at my computer. Sure there’s Skype and FaceTime, which can both be accessed on a smartphone, as well as Google Voice, but WhatsApp is another option to make long distance communication even easier. My friends and I can exchange quick texts and update each other on the latest gossip and news. While these minor details may seem irrelevant to some, they are the bond between two people living miles away from each other. I never realized how convenient this app really was until I started to feel “out of the loop” with my friends in other countries. They started to make new friends and have new experiences without me, but luckily they keep me updated as efficiently as if they were just next door!
My iPhone is basically a part of my body. So this app is particularly relevant to my generation because we are only a free text away from virtually living in another country. We depend more on our phones and texts than we do on human communication, which is another reason why WhatsApp is so relevant to Millennials. (When I lost my phone and was “phoneless” for four days, I felt alone and estranged from the entire world.)
I am very familiar with this “virtual international feeling,” and I have used WhatsApp when I was away in Europe. I would tell my parents what I did that day and anything exciting that had happened. They would share with me the (usually boring) news from home, and then we would shoot a good-bye text until tomorrow. This is also especially useful for Millennials who have a lot of family outside of the country with whom they want to stay in touch. They can keep in contact even if their busy schedules don’t leave them with the time to call. With a text, that person can respond whenever it is convenient rather than setting a time for both parties to be available to talk on the phone. WhatsApp ensures that you will always be filled in on what is going on, just without the extra charge!