social media addiction

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INITIALLY PUBLISHED IN CLOUD961s Issue 1 – JUNE 2013
whatsapp use in lebanon by darine

Social Media and tech gizmos have seeped into every aspect of our lives. In this column Darine curates the curious and funny anecdotes on how these new media have transformed day to day interactions. Share your own stories with her on twitter on @sdarine #SMLaughs or email sdarine@cloud961.com

CASE 1
My mother in law got her first smartphone 3 months ago, before she only used skype to talk to her daughter in australia via PC and now, whenever she’s visiting I can hear notifications beeping on her phone every few seconds. She gets several viber calls during the day too from her neighbours, all of whom are also ladies in their 50s-60s who just got phones “with internet” from children who want to stay in touch with them. But whatsapp is her main passion! Though my MIL is clueless about downloading apps, what facebook is and any other functions of the iphone she rocks whatsapp like no other. She changes her status and profile pitcure several times a day and asks us to send her fresh photos of our baby for that purpose solely. You’d think that she’s alone in that, but as soon as she changes a photo she gets comments and calls regarding it.And I will never forget the day when my sister in law got her Australian passport, as my mother in law directly placed it as her profile pic on whatsapp getting an angry phone call from her daughter minutes later explaining what identity theft is and how it happens.

Whatsapp is also her constant shopping pal. Whenever she wants to buy something for us, she whatsapps us images and the same applies if someone is buying anything for her. I can only sum up her addiction by saying that she does not understand if I do not buy a certain item of grocery and tell her I did not know she needed it to which she always replies:” But I whatsapped you!”

CASE 2
I take a cab and tell him to drive me to Caracalla Theater in Sin El Fil, he does not know the place. I tell him to just drive to Sin El Fil and we will figure it out. He seems me fiddling with my phone and has this wide eyed bright look in his eyes suddenly. “Let them whatsapp you the map!”, he says.

CASE 3
Virgin Radio understands how expensive the telecom is in Lebanon and that with Facebook and Twitter they simply can’t get the people’s private info in real time. So they are cleverly using Whatsapp instead of SMS to get listeners to contact them for free on their various shows and participate in competitions, or as they put it “Why should you pay to contact us?”. And let us not forget the various shops and bakeries and even taxi services that are willing to do deliveries based on whatsapp orders.

CASE 4
It became clear to me that whatsapp is email for the masses when I was at our Moukhtar’s trying to find out how to word a certain legal document. Obviously the most advanced piece of tech at the Moukhtar’s is a photocopying machine, he still uses an old Nokia phone. And yet, a quick call to “eben 3ammo” who is a lawyer and he tells me “he’ll whatsapp you the exact text” while I was expecting him to dictate, fax or sms it.

CASE 5
A great snap by @whallab illustrates a mini-bus circling Beirut with this funny message to reckless drivers who have one hand on their smart phone at all times.

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