Information Overload: Do We Have Too Many Messaging Apps?

I took a trip recently outside Ghana and had to switch my SIM cards. Unfortunately, I had to reset my phone because of an error which wiped out my WhatsApp account after the reset. All attempts to recover my former WhatsApp account proved futile. I had to wait till I came back to Ghana before I could recover my account.

But I couldn’t help but notice something when my WhatsApp account was offline:

Serenity.

No vibrations. No pop-up sounds. No messages. Just the silence and eerie peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

For the longest time in a while, it actually felt good to not have the constant buzz of notifications coming through on my phone. No more anxiety and a little less stress.

Too Many Apps And A Notification Nightmare

I know WhatsApp has the ability to mute conversations but it doesn’t mean those 100 unread messages in your WhatsApp groups go away.

I’ve already written about the ineffectiveness of large WhatsApp Groups. But there are other social media apps which also vie for our attention. Facebook notifications, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger….etc

Those are just a few. Of course, you could just delete these apps but nowadays, it seems more difficult especially if the group of friends you belong to are all on those social media platforms.

So the question is: Are there simply TOO MANY messaging apps out there for us to handle?

To give you a picture, here’s a list of messaging apps that are out there:

  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Telegram
  • Kik Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Google Allo
  • iMessage
  • Viber (Yep, it’s still alive)
  • Signal
  • WeChat
  • Skype

I’m sure I’m missing some but you get the idea. Ideally, there should be a way to have one or two dedicated messaging apps which could merge all your contacts from the other messaging apps. Google did not do a good job of getting its act right and now has THREE messaging apps namely Hangouts, Duo and Allo.

WhatsApp is a great app for communicating but in my opinion, it’s gotten a bit bloated since WhatsApp Groups came in. Alternatives like Telegram are great because not many people are on there but rest assured, the numbers will rise.

Information Overload

We are definitely overloaded with information these days and that’s becoming increasingly worse with messaging apps. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a simple answer to dealing with this.

Maybe if there was an app, which we could all sign up for individual accounts with a unique identifier (a la WhatsApp with phone numbers) but had a better experience (that is, simpler group communication and notifications), we could all sign up and be better off.

But such a platform does not exist; (yet?)

Of course, the alternative could be this: Maybe we just need to prioritise and delete some of the bloat.

But at this point, we might be too addicted to make that change.

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana. I'm also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!) Email: [email protected]

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