It’s been almost a week since Zimbabweans experienced disrupted service on WhatsApp.
A lot of fingers were pointed at the government (The State firmly denied this) for something that some people viewed as a possible response to a nationwide stay away.
Despite all the controversies, accusations, and denials, one thing is clear – If WhatsApp, which is the most popular communication tool in Zimbabwe, is disrupted, there will still be a need to share information.
Fortunately, there’s a flood of instant messaging (IM) alternatives out there. If WhatsApp is
shut down disrupted you should switch to the IM option that the majority of people you communicate with frequently are familiar with. Tehy can’t all be inaccesible at the same time.
Out of the more popular options we’ve listed 5 common IM platforms that are easy to use, provide a somewhat familiar user experience and have core features like VoIP calling and group chat which we are now fond of.
Facebook’s own IM platform has the most appeal here because of its roots in the second most popular internet service in Zimbabwe plus it’s also beefing up its security and privacy settings. Facebook bundles will give you access so you don’t have to worry about extreme out of bundle data charges just to send multimedia. We wrote about it here as the leading alternative if WhatsApp ever gets blocked
Despite failing to capture WhatsApp type user numbers Telegram is still one of the more visible and noteworthy IM services. It’s big on message security and privacy and has been opened up to third-party apps like bots leading WhatsApp in the adoption of essential messaging tools.
This multi-purpose service should probably be strongly encouraged locally in light of the cash shortages and the need for e-money options. Though the e-commerce features aren’t anything Zimbabweans can use right now it’s still a familiar service especially for people in diaspora markets like South Africa where it is promoted extensively.
It was overshadowed by the VoIP solutions that was introduced by practically every service but Viber has still maintained a strong presence. In fact, Zimbabweans who’ve been communicating with family and friends abroad for years were on Viber as a Skype alternative well before WhatsApp and Facebook became dominant.