The Coronavirus lockdown has proven to be of great advantage for social media apps. This resulted in the high growth in the usage of “messenger apps” especially for players like Whatsapp, telegram, WeChat..Weibo etc..
Lately, it has come into notice that Whatsapp has seen a staggering hike in usage due to people being at home. Approximately 25000 users of Whatsapp in affected countries were asked about their use of this app. It came into notice that a massive increase of Whatsapp users had increased by over 51% during the COVID-19 lockdown. The earlier phases of this lockdown had caused an increase in the use of Whatsapp by 41%. Countries with highest patients experienced extreme hikes in the usage of the Instant Messaging app with the following statistics:
Netherlands by 85%, Spain by 76%, and Italy by 83%. (According to TechCrunch)
Many more social media communication apps such as WeChat and Weibo have experienced leaps in usage by an approximate of 58%.
Even though social media platforms are experiencing an increase in usage, their audiences do not trust the information spread. Users majorly rely on news outlets, whereas only a small section of users find the app trustworthy.
What Role does Whatsapp play in this Pandemic?
While the app is constantly being used during these times, it is obvious that the spread of data might cause chaos. Whatsapp has launched various features like the WHO Health Alert Launch, Business Accounts for authorities and professionals, and many more features. There are also features like confirmation of Coronavirus linked data via the IFCN Fact Checker for all countries.
What is the WHO Health Alert Launch?
Whatsapp has also come in extremely handy during times of panic since the spread of COVID-19 because of WHO. WHO has joined forces with Whatsapp and have begun a Health Alert. The Health Alert helps users know about the Pandemic via chatbots.
Users can type words like “hi”, “Hola”, “Salut”, or “Ciao” to activate the chat to get help answering their questions about COVID-19. The users have been offered this feature in the app to control misinformation. Chatbots are a crucial way to allow large masses of users to clear doubts.
Whatsapp has played a great role in eliminating stress during this pandemic. The app has declared a $1 Million grant to help fight against spreading misinformation. Whatsapp also declared that forwarding messages regarding the virus can only be done once. Along with this feature, many more topics are being covered on the chatbot.
How does Whatsapp help during the pandemic?
Whatsapp helps users stay updated in many ways during this lockdown. The mobile app helps users stay updated and receive updates from healthcare professionals, educators, non-profit organizations, and local businesses. Here is how each sector works via Whatsapp:
Health Care Professionals
- Professionals can create custom links via which patients can add, communicate and ask queries on Whatsapp.
- These professionals can begin messages with customized helpful tips for all patients and users.
- Healthcare professionals can send out broadcast messages with important information to keep people updated with correct and timely information.
- Professionals can host remote conferences to get in touch with patients and colleagues.
- Healthcare workers can set ‘Quick Responses’ for most commonly texted information. This makes it easier for individuals to use the preset responses for a large number of patients.
- They can also put up statuses in lieu of Covid-19 and educate masses.
- Healthcare workers can set business timings for patients to contact them.
- All healthcare professionals can set an ‘Away Message’ for users when they cannot reply immediately. This lets users know they can receive a response sometime later.
- Video calls allow all healthcare workers to stay in touch and communicate freely via group video calls.
- Educators can create links that students and fellow staff members can use to contact them. This allows the teacher to stay in touch with students without having to add all students to their contacts list.
- Teachers can create ‘Whatsapp Groups’ for all students and communicate within those groups regarding lessons.
- Educational material can be delivered via files, images, and voice messages to individual students or on groups.
- Educators can create broadcast lists to send out individual chats for sending across assignments and notes. Students can then reply back on private chat via this feature.
- All teachers on Whatsapp can be a part of or host voice calls or video calls for groups. This can be used to hold discussions or clear queries.
- Teachers and Educators can keep students and colleagues updated via statuses.
- Individuals in the education sector can use Whatsapp via Whatsapp Web for ease of handling multiple files, chats, and calls simultaneously.
Nonprofit Organizations and Local Governments
- Authorities can create links for people to join and reach out for any form of support.
- Organizations and Local bodies can create their own custom greetings and show more about their organization to their contacts using business profiles.
- The users of business accounts can set an ‘Away Message’ for users when they are busy or unavailable. This lets people know they will receive a response later.
- Organizations can let their contacts and community member know about what services are being offered to them via Whatsapp Catalog.
- Organizations can save and reuse messages that they send out commonly to be able to communicate efficiently with their clients.
- Local Authorities and organizations can send out broadcast messages consisting of important, updated, and timely information to all contacts.
- The authorities and organizations on Whatsapp can be a part of or host voice calls or video calls for groups. This can be used to hold discussions or clear queries.
- Nonprofit Organizations and Authorities can use Whatsapp via Whatsapp Web for ease of handling multiple tasks, chats, and calls simultaneously.
- Local businesses can create personalized links using which customers can add them.
- Businesses can create Whatsapp Business Accounts and mention their operating hours so that customers know when they can contact the shops.
- Shops and local businesses can keep an updated catalog for users so they are aware of the products and stock available.
- These local businesses can use voice calls and video calls for a more personalized and to provide a better sales experience for customers.
- Small scale businesses can use live location to let clients know their location as well as make deliveries or tracking of customers easier.
- Local businesses can use status updates to allow customers to see what’s inside the store with virtual tours.
- Business owners can stay in touch with their employees and vendors via voice and video calls.
Here’s the Takeaway – Whatsapp is a globally used and appreciated mobile application. It is only right that when users begin utilizing the app at such a large scale that the app should work towards a better social cause. Whatsapp saw a tremendous increase in their usage during the Coronavirus Pandemic, and took a noble step in spreading correct information regarding the same. This can only set an example for other organizations to help curb the ailment.