Before WhatsApp became as popular as it is now, these were the other messaging platforms used

Just about everyone in today’s modern age is in possession of a smartphone that can do virtually anything from capturing videos to checking the time and communicating with family or friends.

The emergence of instant messaging applications, like WhatsApp for example, has become very popular among users. The app first came onto the scene in 2009, going from 250 000 active users in that same year and by December 2013, that number had risen significantly to 400-million. For whatever reason, the messaging service is currently banned in 12 countries.

If you’re new to WhatsApp and would like to signup, these five steps will show you how to do it:

1. Download and launch the app: Download WhatsApp Messenger for free from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. To open the app, tap the WhatsApp icon on your home screen.

2. Review the Terms of Service: Read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, then tap Agree and Continue to accept the terms.

3. Register: Select your country from the drop-down list to add your country code, then enter your phone number in international phone number format. Tap Done or Next, then tap Ok to receive your 6-digit registration code via SMS or phone call. To complete registration, enter your 6-digit code. Learn how to register your phone number on Android or iPhone.

4. Set up your profile: In your new profile, enter your name, and then tap Next. You can also add a profile photo, but can also do that at a later time.

5. Allow access to contacts and photos: Contacts can be added to WhatsApp from your phone’s address book. You can also allow access to your phone’s photos, videos, and files.

Gumtree lists a couple of messaging applications that are no longer in use due to the popularity and simplicity of WhatsApp:


Many still consider Mxit (or Mixit) as the OG form of messaging. The chat platform was popular among South African teens when it entered the pre-smartphone era in 2005. The South African app reported having a monthly active user base of 7.5-million at one point. In case you didn’t know, Mxit has officially closed and users can no longer use the app.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)

This exclusive messaging service was only available to those with BlackBerry phones. For many, the R60 a month recurring subscription was seen as a massive plus and at one point, the BBM craze was in full swing. Unfortunately, this year BlackBerry ended support for the operating system on older models, effectively rendering the once iconic phone virtually obsolete.


Users were treated to yet another social messaging platform in the form of WeChat whereby shaking their smartphone, could can find a new friend nearby to begin talking to. The China-based app first released in 2011, going on to become the world’s largest standalone mobile app seven years later in 2018 with over 1-billion monthly active users.

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