Friday, 22 January 2016

The Six Golden Rules of WhatsApp Groups


 
If you are anything like me, you probably get a sinking feeling in your stomach each time you are added to yet another WhatsApp group. My phone feels completely overloaded with school groups, creche groups, a street security group, groups for kids extra-murals, work groups, family groups and random ones started by friends or family to sell or promote stuff (i.e. the ones I wish I did not have but feel too guilty to delete).


Love them or hate them, Whatsapp groups do have a place and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. I have decided to compile a list to make things a bit more bearable for other group users- please share far and wide so that the people who need to see this actually see this!

CONSIDER THE PURPOSE OF THE GROUP

What is acceptable on one group may not be appropriate on another. If a neighborhood group was started to discuss security issues, do not use this as a platform to discuss the scores of a soccer match, put up pictures of naked women or send religious messages.

RESPECT PEOPLE'S TIME AND DATA

Not everyone has access to uncapped data 24/7 and your unnecessary large files are eating up other people's data and phone storage space. Uploading videos might be acceptable on purely social groups (and even then should be kept to a minimum or shared individually and not to groups) but not every parent in your child's pre-school class needs to see the latest funny cat video (even if it is really, really cute and funny). 

DON'T HAVE PRIVATE CHATS WITH ONE PERSON ON A GROUP

If you have something to say to one person in the group and it is of no relevance to everyone else, get a room! Rather direct message the individual.


CHECK YOUR CLOCK

Unless it is a matter of life and death, only post messages on a group at reasonable hours- nothing after lets say 10 p.m. and nothing before the sun is up. As a severely sleep-deprived individual I do not need further disruptions to my sleep.


DO NOT ADD ME TO A GROUP SELLING STUFF I DON'T WANT

Yes, I am talking to you Tupperware lady and sari selling lady that I met once at a function! If you are going to start a group to promote goods or services, be sure that these people are in fact interested in your product or else you will just annoy people. If, by some miracle, people do stick around in these groups, either because they genuinely like your product or they pity you, keep promotional messages minimal and unobtrusive. Oh and definitely do not go around spamming us with your Avon/ Herbalife/ Sh'Zen/ Justine/ Amway/ Forever Living stuff on your child's homework group. 

P.S. If you have groups like these, which you do not particularly like but do not want to delete for whatever reason (eg. a close family member is the group admin and you do not want to offend them) you can turn off notifications so that you still get the messages but do not get alerts when these come through.

YOU DON'T NEED TO REPLY TO EVERY COMMENT

You always have that one person who replies to every.... single... comment. Just don't, okay? If you have a group of fifty people and every single one says something about every mundane message, that is a lot of messages- just saying.

BE RESPECTFUL

Do not say anything on WhatsApp that you would not say in person, especially if you do not know everyone on the group personally. Keep your language clean and the content respectful. You will only embarrass yourself with racist, sexist, religiously intolerant or otherwise discriminatory statements. I cannot emphasize this one enough- racist comments are not any less racist if you write them in Afrikaans (which by the way most non-white people in South Africa understand just fine). 

Respect the fact that people have differing opinions- while you can make your point of view heard, you can do this without being a meanie.

Are there any rules that I have left out? Please add yours!