Soapbox: Whatsapp? Not on UCD’s watch

As I edge closer and closer to graduation day, I’m reminiscing on all my happy memories here in Belfield. I’ll miss chicken fillet rolls from Centra, lying by the lake during summer exam study week and even the fear of Librocop catching me taking a hung-over selfie in James Joyce. However, my final gripe with UCD is not the trek to the RDS, or the pain of only having ten minutes to run from Sutherland to the O’Brien; it’s the fact that Whatsapp just seems incompatible with our (fragile, at the best of times) Wi-Fi. Reading a message in the group chat is an ordeal; you see the red notification, click into the app and then spend at least two minutes waiting as ‘Connecting…’ rolls around the banner. By the time the message loads it’s irrelevant anyway. What if my friend is in a ditch dying, or needs urgent attention, or is offering to buy me a pint if I reply immediately?

For a campus that contains nearly 30,000 students, all with lives to keep up with, why is it that it’s only Whatsapp that doesn’t work? I understand that there’s no phone signal in the Newman lecture halls; they were built in the Stone Age when mobile phones didn’t even exist, and we didn’t require the internet to hold our friendships together at all times. But now? In 2019? Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter; they all work, why is it only Whatsapp? What beef does Deeks have with it? What happens when Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram all merge? Will nothing work? Will UCD be cut off from the rest of the world digitally as well as physically? These are all questions I ask myself as I wait on tenterhooks to read the reply to a risky text I sent, the anxiety not helped by our connectivity problem.

So how do we fix this problem? Well UCD have three months to work out where the minions have chewed through the wires, but that’s no good to final years like me. I can’t claim to be a technology whiz, in fact I can barely work my own phone most days, but it can’t take a genius to figure out the probably, surely? If I have to switch off my Wi-Fi and switch on 4G one more time, I’ll fling myself in the lake and take the tetanus shot and fine as a political protest with pride. Sure look, could be worse - at least we’re not in Trinity.