What’s the WiFi Password?

June 23rd, 2120

About half the crowd was present; the other half had dialed into the funeral service via Skype. When the priest spoke, we could see the crowd’s reactions—mostly teary-eyed emojis and the occasional heart-eyed face—floating across the projector in front of us.

“Alice was beloved by all in our town. She would #ShowUp for you whenever you needed her. She was Followed by many and Liked by even more.”

The crowd solemnly nodded.

The priest dabbed his eyes. A few leaves fluttered in the trees.

“And now, let us use our devices to scan the QR Code on Alice’s gravestone. It has been programmed to direct you to her Gravebook page.”

There was a momentary shuffle as everyone pulled out a device. (A few people used the spare moment to catch up on their WhatsApp messages, too.)

“Let us bow our heads in a moment of silence as we come together as a community to click the “Like” and “Follow” buttons on Alice’s Gravebook. Please do take a few minutes to post on her page as well.”

I tapped out my condolences, adding in a few downcast emojis for good measure. Gravebook was, admittedly, one of my favorite social media platforms. As declared in its mission statement, Gravebook gave people “the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” To share memories, opinions, and life events.

And cat videos. Lots of cat videos.

Gravebook

After Following Alice’s Grave, a number of other “Suggested Graves” popped up on the bottom of the screen.

With a jolt of guilt, I realized I had forgotten Uncle Al and the family goldfish (Goldie). I quickly Followed them, hoping that no one had noticed my social faux pas.

Because they were unable to post on their own, the dead relied on Legacy Contacts to maintain their pages. Legacy Contacts were typically close family members or friends who were entrusted to post photos, monitor page traffic, and respond to friend requests for their loved ones.

Using sophisticated algorithms, Gravebook could also use the digital footprints of the deceased to generate posts on their behalf. In fact, Alice had already made her first post: “Can’t believe July is around the corner! [Sun Emoji].”

Several others—including Goldie—had liked the post.

Goldie had also posted a comment: [Blub].

After most had finished scrolling through Alice’s Gravebook, the priest began to speak again. “To commemorate this day, we shall all take a selfie—or what I like to call a gravie.”

He pulled out a selfie stick (adorned with black ribbons and a single red rose for the occasion) and clipped his device to the end.

We huddled around Alice’s gravestone.

A sea of backlit faces stared back at us.

“Bad lighting,” we chorused.

“Bad lighting, indeed” the priest echoed.

(We shuffled to the other side of the headstone.)

After the gravie was posted, shared, and liked, the priest motioned for us to return to our seats. He opened the “Heaven, Inc.” app on his device, indicating for us to do the same.

“And now, her spirit shall be released to the Cloud,” he said.

As I swiped to the app, I realized my grandparents had forgotten to take out their devices. Hands folded in their laps, they were staring up at the sky.

Strange, how they thought Heaven, Inc. existed there. I rolled my eyes. In the sky, of all places. Geez. I nudged them, pointing to my device so they could follow along.

Heaven, Inc. was a cloud-based database of souls. And it was customary to upload the soul at the end of a funeral to ensure proper preservation of the spirit.

The screen showed a picture of Alice set against a bright blue background. Together, we watched the progress bar slowly fill as her memories, thoughts, and photos entered the Cloud.

A few advertisements for flowers and coffins floated across the screen (I hadn’t yet invested in the ad-free version), but I swiftly swiped them aside.

When the bar reached 100%, a succession of angels flew across the screen. Upload complete.

By the end of the service, the sun had dipped below the horizon. Walking home, I could see the last rays of the day’s light glittering over the rolling hills.

It was beautiful. Picturesque.

Instinct made me reach for my device, but something stopped me. A slight tug, a vague sense that some moments were not meant to be Posted and Liked. Or even pictured in the first place.

The feeling had come to me on various occasions in the past as well. Though it always felt strange, I honored it nonetheless. So I let my hands settle into my pockets, the fingers of my right hand resting against the cool, black surface of my device.

Illustrated by Mahathi Gottumukkala

#WhatsApp #Worship

One in three smartphone users in India run out of space on their phones daily. The answer? Two words. “Good Morning!”
–Newley Purnell, The Wall Street Journal

The Book of WhatsApp is an ever-growing holy text. Each day, new squares of wisdom fall from the cyber heavens to enlighten smartphones across the world.

Those who follow the teachings of the Book begin each day with the morning call to prayer:

Good Morning Squares
If you are blessed, you may be lucky enough to be graced by the presence of an angel:

Angels

Listening to these prayers resonate throughout your chat groups–is there any sweeter sound? I think not. However, one must always remember that the religion of WhatsApp_Ism is not merely about taking–it’s about giving. As the Book states: “He who wishes a Good Morning upon others welcomes a Good Morning unto himself” (4:26 PM).

So next time you hear the prayer, sing one in return. And sing “Good Morning” to all. True followers of WhatsApp_Ism tap the “Forward” button selflessly, sending Good Morning prayers to friends, colleagues, and strangers alike.

According to Verse 11 of the Book, “He who forwards messages without thinking is the most generous of us all” (11:59 AM). Following this advice is essential to promoting the well-being of society. The squares on happiness, work ethic, and relationships are especially important to spread. They contain profound wisdom and a degree of erudition that is often difficult to come by these days.

Advice

Advice

The squares have an impact that lasts for days, sometimes weeks. It’s often only in the middle of the night–after hours of thought and meditation–that I am able to fully grasp the meaning embedded in each one.

Certain messages are meant for specific people. These can be saved in Google Prayer Box 1.2, a digital storage space reserved for the followers of WhatsApp_Ism. You can then extract them and send them to friends/relatives when appropriate.

People-Specific

Others are meant to correct overconfidence. This concept is captured in one of the most poetic verses of the Book: “If thou wakest in joy and peace, I urge thee to reawaken in the tender light of my passive-aggressive tiles. Thou shall learn humility by remembering thy weaknesses and sloth” (8:33 PM).

Passive-Aggressive

Morning prayers aside, you’ll also find that The Book of WhatsApp is a source of scientific wisdom:

Science

And that it promotes racial equality:

Racial Equality

WhatsApp_Ism is a crowdsourced religion and is growing as we speak. We welcome people from all faiths to join. And don’t worry–messages are secured with end-to-end encryption, so no one can interfere with your connection to the holy spirit.

I hope this post has filled your heart with joy and blessings. You are a beautiful person.
Good morning.