Are you driven bonkers by some Whatsapp group chats? Then it’s time we talk about those unspoken/unwritten rules of the Whatsapp group decorum.
There is no denying the fact that Whatsapp has transformed the way we communicate with friends and family. No matter where in the world they are, it simplifies how we converse with them. It’s like a virtual get-together.
I mean seriously who still makes phone calls and send a SMS these days! Ok my parents still do but they old school and when the phone rings I know it is them.
Whatsapp is a free communication tool that makes life easier and allows you to send messages to a group of people simultaneously to schedule social appointments, send motivational message, voice notes, videos, funny memes and to share ideas.
Besides the instant chat groups with family and friends, it also enables sharing information with school parenting groups, sports groups and work colleagues.
I have multiple Whatsapp groups in my contact and to be honest, some of them are really annoying. I’ve opted out of a lot of groups and then there are those that I’m just holding on to for the sake of information sharing. Two of them I’ve muted for the year.
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many benefits associated to using Whatsapp, unfortunately it also brings along its own set of problems. By this I mean, posting messages the entire day, making statements that are offensive, sending videos that uses a lot of data, online stalking etc. It is a nuisance to constantly hear the notification sound of a particular group.
Some Whatsapp users take it a little too far by just not having cyber manners.
Last week a parent sent a message on the school parenting group. The wording and tone of this message was so aggressive and completely out of line. This parent basically accused the rest of the groups’ children of stealing a uniform item of her child. It was clear that she had no substantial evidence/proof to justify her statement. By stating it could be anyone’s child roughly her child’s size and that she will not rest until the culprit is brought to book.
Let’s just say that this message cheesed a whole lot of people off – including myself. Within seconds, comments went flying on the chat group. This message caused a bit of drama which resulted in some parents exiting the group. It was pretty intense but luckily Admin stepped in and the matter was sorted. Unfortunately I can’t post a screenshot of the message as that goes against the rules of Whatsapp.
Which led me to believe that people really don’t know the basic rules of using Whatsapp to communicate. Rules that are often unwritten or unspoken about in a Whatsapp decorum.
Here are some basic rules for Whatsapp users to use as a guide
Ask permission before adding people to a group. State the reasons for creating the group and provide clear guidelines for posting messages on it. Whatsapp also now offers a new administration feature that only allows the administrator of the group to post messages or to invite multiple administrators to the group.
Keep it short
Don’t send messages with endless sentences. Get to the point as people don’t have time to read. Avoid in-depth conversations.
School and work groups are not the platform to post memes, jokes, chain letters, sexy pictures and videos. Don’t spam the group and keep it professional at all times. Make sure that the content that you post are relevant to the group and adheres to the rules set out by admin. Don’t have personal conversations on the chat group that has no relevance to other members. If it does not pertain to the entire group, then message that person directly.
Watch your wording
Exercise caution when you post a message or a comment on Whatsapp. Watch your tone and wording before posting a message. Avoid posting offensive message and comments as well as going into a heated argument with someone on the group. It is not the platform to raise grievances or personal agendas. Be kind and compassionate towards other members in the group. Read your message a couple of times before posting and when in doubt, just don’t send it.
Go easy on emojis
Emojis are cute but just using it to communicate sometimes makes no sense. Use words instead followed by one or two emojis.
For school and work groups, do not post messages between 21h00 in the evening and 06h30 in the morning. Avoid posting over weekends, this might be invasive unless of course it is a matter of urgency.
Chat group messages should be confidential. Therefore sending screenshots of messages to people outside of the group will break that trust.
Make sure you responding to the correct group or individual contact
Nothing is more awkward and embarrassing than posting a message to the wrong individual or group. Before posting; check the group or contact you want to send the message to.
Get a life and don’t stalk
Don’t be overly keen to reply quickly just for the sake of making conversation or showing your presence. If someone poses a question and you don’t know the answer then just say you don’t know. In most cases there will be someone who knows the answer. It’s ridiculous to find 150 notifications all being off topic. Unless you are asked to RSVP then your response is required.
The sender should not expect instant replies to messages. Don’t be a pest and stalk people on when they’ve come online and why they not replying. People might be genuinely busy and will respond at a convenient time.
No biggie if you are not overly active on a Whatsapp group but do give your input from time to time. You have been added to a group to contribute not to be silent.
Don’t ignore messages
If you receive personal messages outside of the group, respond. It is common decency. Even if the response is not immediate, respond in due time. Alternatively do a courtesy reply to say that you will respond later. Having read a message and not reply to it is just a little rude.
Be polite when exiting
Before leaving a group, be courteous and inform the rest of the group members that you will be leaving.
Whatsapp is a technical platform that is efficient, useful and fun but let’s manage this form of communication wisely.
The above only serves as a guide to rules that can be applied to using Whatsapp. If you have any other rules, please feel free to share. Also what has your experience been on a Whatsapp group chat?