You asked, and WhatsApp answered. The popular messaging app got a major upgrade in 2017 with the Status feature, which allowed users to post stories à la Instagram or Snapchat.
Now, perhaps feeling the heat from competitors that offer similar features, WhatsApp has announced a slew of updates that make the Status feature easier to use. Here’s what’s coming soon.
Want to let someone know you laughed at their story without typing “lol” or using a GIF?
Don’t worry — you don’t have to call or message them privately, because that would be more than a little awkward. Instead, you can simply use one of eight emojis to respond. They’ll get the idea.
The ability to react with emojis was the number one feature users kept requesting, and for good reason. Can you think of any other social media app that lacks this function?
Facebook introduced emoji reactions seven years ago, ending the social media Dark Ages where people could only “like” or reply to statuses.
The feature is a welcome relief to WhatsApp users previously relegated to talking with people. Who does that?
OK, apparently, people do want to talk. The 2023 update includes the ability to share an audio clip up to 30 seconds long on Status.
It’s one thing to write about riding a roller coaster at Disney Land but screaming into the phone for half a minute really drives the message home. Your friends sure are missing out.
In all seriousness, the ability to add audio clips makes WhatsApp more accessible to users who have difficulty seeing, reading, or typing, opening the door to new communication styles.
Now, everyone can vicariously experience your flight to the Bahamas. There’s nothing like the sound of engine noise and crying babies to invoke jealousy.
Status profile rings
If people habitually overlook your Status updates, help is on the way. Taking a cue from Beyoncé, WhatsApp will be jazzing up that dreary Status circle by putting a ring on it.
The eye-catching ring around your profile will let people know when you’ve posted a new story and vice versa. You can scroll through your contact list and see who recently updated their Status.
Better privacy controls
A feature called Private Audience Selector will do exactly what the name suggests. Maybe your little sister just added you on WhatsApp, but you’d rather not share all your Status updates with her.
Now, you’ll be able to fly under the familial radar by selecting exactly who you want to share your Status with.
WhatsApp will save your selection and automatically apply it to the next update you share, but you’ll have the option to change your audience as often as you like.
This feature is useful for planning events, letting only close friends know about your plans, and preventing awkward Thanksgiving dinners.
There’s always that one uncle who gets way too political, joining the 9% of Americans who unashamedly use social media as a soapbox.
Have you ever clicked on a mysterious thumbnail only to regret it immediately? It happens.
Thankfully, however, it will no longer happen on WhatsApp. The app will now feature a preview of each Status, so you won’t be subjected to yet another cat video you could have lived without.
Well, you might see about a second of it, but at least it won’t be full-screen. That kind of takes the edge off.
WhatsApp’s 2023 update
No one knows the exact date these features are rolling out, but WhatsApp says to expect them in late February and early March 2023.
The update should make WhatsApp more accessible, enjoyable, and intuitive to use, finally giving people the features they’ve been waiting for. At long last, you can simply “laugh” and be on your way.
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