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The Secret behind the Arab American Obsession with WhatsApp/WhatsUp

posted on: Mar 14, 2018

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By: Randa Necola/Arab America Contributing Writer

Arab Americans love using WhatsApp so much that some of them call it WhatsUp or abbreviate it to just What’s. WhatsApp is the most popular free messaging application for smartphones in the Arab world. In addition, Arabs and Arab Americans use WhatsApp more than any other messaging application and connecting to most of their friends and family through it. So, let’s dig into the secrets behind the Arab American love affair with WhatsApp! 

It’s FREE!

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Arab Americans love free things and the best strategy to target an Arab is to say the secret word FREE! Not to mention, WhatsApp saved enormous amounts of money for Arab Americans because it connects through wifi which is their dearest friend and it saves call or text cost. Additionally, WhatsApp has connected all the world together and helped people to communicate more nationally and internationally.

Blackberry did it

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Do you remember when Blackberry phones spotlighted WhatsApp and people loved it? Yes, that was the time when Arab Americans started to get obsessed with WhatsApp and its emojis which were ahead in the texting game. Since then, WhatsApp has become a primary application like Facebook for Arabs. 

It is simple

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WhatsApp is a very simple messaging application that anyone with a smartphone can easily use. Arab American adults do not like creating emails, passwords or usernames because they forget them and think they’re not useful. So, WhatsApp is just a simple tool for them to text and call for free without a tedious signing up process.

Reading messages and last seen options are an absolute Arab favorite!

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Isn’t it great to know that someone read your message or to know if they are available to talk? Arab Americans just love having the option to watch the two ways of sending and receiving messages. However, some Arabs like to let others know that they read their messages and did not reply to prove that they are angry or mad.  

No Facebook? No problem!

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Some people don’t like the Facebook messenger or they deactivate their account for some reason, but they like to keep in touch with their loved ones. So, WhatsApp stepped in to replace and cover Facebook by giving all the options that users need, like having an alternative to reach out to people. Additionally, Arab Americans like having many options to communicate and alternatives to cover their back.

Unique emojis

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Don’t you love the different emoji varieties to reveal your feelings? If you have an android you know what I am talking about. Android users get the chance to have more and different WhatsApp emojis than the regular keyboard emojis. Further, Arab nationals and expats tend to express their emotions more than other nations and Whatsapp gives them more options than they could ever realize.

Family and friends groups  

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WhatsApp pioneered texting applications by creating chat groups that can have many participants. Furthermore, Arabs tend to have big families and many friends. Thus, they love using WhatsApp group messages because it can handle their family and friends easily. It is rare to find an Arab who does not have at least one family or friend WhatsApp group. WhatsApp is the hero who saves families from being separated and helps them to know each other more even if they are in different parts of the world and have never seen each other.