Using mobile messaging. Photo GaudiLab / Getty Images

Using WhatsApp in union organising and communications

WhatsApp is the most used app in the world, with an estimated 30.1 million users in the UK alone. While it’s best known as a messaging service, it also includes audio and video calls, voice messages, and sharing for photos, files and links. 

The service allows group communication as well as marketing communication. Shared conversations are possible within small interest groups or up to hundreds of people at once.

Based mainly around a mobile app, and requiring a phone number to hold an account, WhatsApp is closer to text messaging than to email in terms of engagement. Typically, 90% of recipients will view a message, and they will do so much more quickly than they would with an email.

WhatsApp has the potential to be a powerful tool for organising, helping trade unionists to connect, spread their message and organise members and supporters.

But at the same time, engaging on the platform holds a number of significant risks for trade unions, which will need considerable thought in mitigation. Not least of these is its controversial approach to data sharing with Facebook, and compliance with data protection regulations.

This guide includes some best practice tips and suggestions for making the most of WhatsApp.

Register here to download the guide