A few useful WhatsApp basics

WhatsApp was launched in 2009 by former Yahoo employees Brian Acton and Jan Koum. In February 2014, Facebook purchased the app for US$19 billion (about R280 billion).

As of February this year, WhatsApp had a user base of one billion, making it the most popular messaging app in the world. Together with Facebook messenger, the app processes more than 60 billion messages a day. Here are some guidelines if you’ve finally downloaded this useful free app:

  • WhatsApp status

This is simply a text attached to your WhatsApp contact, informing other users whether you are available, busy or offline. Many users ignore the standard options and post a favourite proverb or quote as their ‘status’.

To change your status, click on the three dots (application menu) in the top right-hand corner of the app and then choose ‘Status’. Add your own customised status, as explained, or choose from the list. Your status is not broadcast to everyone, but is available for people to read when they click on your name.

  • Profile picture

To change your profile picture, click on the application menu, choose ‘Settings’ then click on your profile picture. You can change this by choosing any photograph from your picture gallery, or taking a new one with the camera on your phone.

  • Privacy settings

By default, WhatsApp will automatically set your privacy settings to allow any WhatsApp user to view your read receipts, last seen, profile photo and status.

  • Read receipts

If you see two blue check marks next to your sent message, the recipient has read your message. In a group chat or broadcast message, the check marks will turn blue after every participant has read your message.

  • ‘Last seen…’

This tells you if your contacts are online, or the last time they used WhatsApp. It can therefore help you to be non-intrusive: if you wish to send a message to a friend late at night or early in the morning, for example, you can first check to see if the person is still active on the app.

Sources: www.expandedrambling.com, www.theverge.com and www.whatsapp.com.

Greg Miles is a livestock farmer and internet marketer.