Want a fun way to chat with your friends? Want to be able to “text” your friend who lives halfway across the world at no fee for the messages you send each other back and forth? Well, this may be the answer for you. WhatsApp Messenger is an application you can download on your Android device–FREE of charge–to message and keep in touch with your friends, no matter where they might live. If you and your friend both have downloaded the application, you are set to go!
First thing’s first. Download the application onto your Android device if you haven’t already – this will be through your “Play Store.” Search for “WhatsApp,” then download. The icon for this application is a green speech bubble with a telephone icon inside. When you first launch the application, it will ask you to enter in your cell phone number to confirm. The next screen will have you enter your name the way you want it to appear on your friends’ lists. You have the option of loading a profile picture at this time too (although this can be done at any time). Once you are signed in, you will see a blank page that says “Chats” at the top, with a pencil sketch in the middle. This is essentially your homepage.
WhatsApp automatically syncs all your phone contacts who also have WhatsApp onto your chat list. On the top right hand corner, there is an icon of a magnifying glass and a pencil. If you click on the magnifying glass, it will let you search through your chats. This will be applicable once you have several chats open and want to search for a certain person’s name or phrase among all of your messages. If you click on the icon of the pencil, this will take you to a list of all your WhatsApp contacts. On this page, there is also a magnifying glass at the top right hand corner, which will allow you to search for a contact name among the list. This list displays all your friends from your phone book who are WhatsApp members and can chat with you.
To chat with a specific person, simply touch your screen over the person’s name. This will open up a ‘chat box’ where you can type in a message and send. On the top right hand corner of the box, there is a paper clip icon and a smiley face icon. The paper clip icon lets you send an attachment, and you have six types of attachments to choose from: Gallery, Take photo, Video, Audio, Location, and Contact.
If you select Gallery, this opens up the photo gallery on your phone. You can select what photo you wish to send to your friend through WhatsApp. The second option is Take photo, which opens up your phone’s camera to take a picture and then attach it. The third type of attachment is Video, which lets you either take a video through your phone’s camera right then or select a video file that already exists in your photo gallery. The fourth type of attachment is Audio. You can select a file from your Voice Recorder, a Music file, or if you select WhatsApp, you can record a soundbite and send that as an attachment. The fifth type of attachment is Location. This allows you to share either your current location or nearby location with your friend. This can be helpful, for instance, if you are trying to meet a friend somewhere and want to send them directions. The sixth type of attachment is Contact. This allows you to select one of your contacts from your phone list, and you can forward their telephone or email address as a message attachment via WhatsApp. Communicating has never been this easy!
If you press on the smiley face icon on the top right hand corner of the message box, it will open a new box of emoticons. There are six different categories of emoticons for you to choose from, and these are displayed by mini icons. The first one, starting from the left hand side, is a clock icon. This will display the most recent emoticons you have used, called “recent emoji.” The second icon is a smiley face. Scroll down to see all the various emoticons you have to choose from! The third icon is an image of a flower. This category consists of animals, flowers, stars, and weather emoji. The fourth icon is a bell, and this category consists of seasonal images illustrating the holidays and various household items–even fruits and vegetables. The fifth icon is a car, and this emoji category mainly consists of buildings, transportation vehicles, and flags. The sixth and final icon displays punctuation marks “!?#,” and this category consists of numbers, punctuation marks, some Chinese symbols, and even some road signs. Much fun is to be had with all these emoticons!
Note: To ever go back to a previous screen, simply press the back button on your Android device. Pressing back multiple times can take you back to your original homepage as well. This is a start on how to begin using WhatsApp – next time, we will learn how to set up and edit your profile, set a status, and adjust settings!