A call is a call-is-a-call-is-a-call? but no, to some people it’s not just a call. It depends on the platform from which the call is made. Technological innovations has given people more options to get in touch. More than a decade ago people had limited and expensive ways of communicating. Voice calls and Short Messages Services (SMS) were the most popular methods of keeping in touch. In fact, making calls was so expensive for many people to an extent that former Vodacom employee Nkosana Makate saw the need to invent “Please Call Me”, an invention that generated billions of Rands in revenue for Vodacom, but that’s a topic for another day.
The emergence of 3G technology gave us more options to communicate. We can now make voice calls over the internet also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), send instant messages (IM) and do video calls. Companies such as Apple, Google and Skype became dominant players in the VoIP space. Today we have WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, amongst others also playing a formidable role in how we communicate.
All of these platforms provide us with great benefits; firstly it is cheaper to make calls on compared to traditional forms of making calls. Secondly, you don’t need to be connected to a specific network service provider to use and make a call. You can be connected to any Wifi network and still be able to communicate with your loved ones. Lastly, it is convenient to use, you can make voice calls, video calls and send instant messages on the same platform.
If the platforms offer such awesome benefits, the question remains… why is it that some people feel offended when you call them via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, but would be happy if you call them with your airtime and/or Apple’s FaceTime. The simple and short answer is – the brand. I’ve had people saying that when I call them via WhatsApp it means I don’t take them serious because it is supposedly “free”. Therefore, it means that I don’t value them as much, however on the same token the very same person would be happy to receive a FaceTime call from me. The other day one of my mentors asked me if I ever buy airtime and said to me, he hopes that I don’t call clients with WhatsApp call because I always call him via WhatsApp. How is it that a FaceTime call would be more valuable than a WhatsApp call as both platforms use the same technology – VoIP. Well… FaceTime is a product of Apple – a powerful brand that is known for being exclusive and people loooove exclusivity. Because there are fewer people who use Apple products than other mobile phone manufacturers, Apple users feel special when they connect on Apple to Apple platforms.
On the other hand, some people raise the issue of the quality of WhatsApp’s voice call. They say WhatsApp call usually buffers or sometimes you can’t hear the other person at all. As with the “normal” call, if you are not in an area that has good signal you are bound to experience issues with the quality of the call.
In my view, it shouldn’t matter whether someone calls you via WhatsApp, FaceTime or Facebook because after-all it’s just a call.
Do you like making WhatsApp calls? Or do you know someone who hates it when you call them via WhatsApp? Leave your comments below.