Your WhatsApp Group Chat Etiquette Guide
We’d like to dedicate this guide to Emily Post, who would surely have something to say about our digital manners.
WhatsApp is wonderful. It simplifies conversations and makes life that much easier and better. And, oh my, it allows you to form groups, too! Now, families have instant chat; no matter where they are, across the world.
And then work colleagues, too. And school buddies.
And the group from the class you once took…? Or people from that trip you went on. Or that birthday party you don’t want to go to.
The extended family you only meet at weddings are now inundating you daily with information and what they think are funny WhatsApp group messages about their current lives, days and minutes – every day.
WhatsApp has a subscriber base of one billion – and it feels like all of them are pinging you with WhatsApp group messages through the day.
Here are five rules for WhatsApp group members so you don’t end up making sensitive souls like us break our pencils in half.
Your WhatsApp Chat Etiquette Guide for Groups
Rule #1: Just. Send. Short. Messages. Seriously.
If every message you send is endless sentences and reams of text or bad jokes with lots of space between the sentences which is just plain irritating and you think people are reading it or and resisting the urge to block you; then you are sadly mistaken and what’s worse, you have misunderstood the point of WhatsApp, which is to text, like SMS, which means Short Messaging Service, but online, and thus be reachable on more than one platform as well as not pay extravagant texting costs, and you’ve missed the boat, my friend and we really stopped reading your messages a long time ago, because hello, the 19th century is over and stop writing letters on WhatsApp.
There — see how annoying it is?
Rule #2: When in doubt, don’t forward. Actually, just don’t forward.
Sixty percent of all people reading this paragraph will suffer from paragraph-related brain damage within a day because of computers. Also, if you leave your bottle near the computer for too long, it will melt into the water, and then you’ll be drinking plastic which might be cancerous because it’s plastic from USA and not UK which is the Queen’s plastic and thus less harmful.
Also, here’s a picture of this child who everyone is convinced is missing but is really a model for an old ad campaign and no one’s bothered to check that. And this paragraph was awarded Best Global Indian Paragraph by UNESCO yesterday.
Not everything you read is true, and most things on the Internet are false. WhatsApp has become a repository of fake information and forwards. Verify things before passing them on, using on websites like snopes.com, breakthechain.org and hoaxbusters.ciac.org – or, for country-specific news, just use Google to fact-check before you hit send.
Rule #3: Use your words.
Smiley face, smiley face, monkey with eyes covered, girl dancing, strange Japanese emoji no one knows, poop emoji, crying face emoji, flower emoji, red throbbing heart, purple heart, angry emoji, laughing emoji.
As the mother of every 3-year-old has said at some point: Use your words. Emojis are cute, but if you’re an adult in a WhatsApp group full of adults, well, use adult language. If you’re just satisfying your urge to send emojis out into the universe as part of some primal-scream-emoji therapy, please text your doctor. See the utter lack of emojis here?
Rule #4: Personalize when it’s important.
Inviting people to parties, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions via a jpg on a WhatsApp group isn’t polite or respectful. In fact, it’s kind of lazy. And pulling people up, on the group chat, for not attending an event after an invitation so casual the guest might not even know it’s been issued to them, is just rude. Basic WhatsApp chat etiquette isn’t that different from real life.
But let’s be clear – we’re not objecting to being invited by an eco-friendly jpg; we’re objecting to be treated like part of a herd — and subjecting a hundred people to each and every rsvp response. That is, if you actually want people to show up to your shindig.
Rule #5: Second guess every share.
That image or video you’re about to share – with all 300 members of the group — is only interesting to 3.5 of them. Most people care about your meals, jokes, good morning messages, baby memes, videos of people falling or slipping, political views, your offspring and your latest holiday about as much as you care about theirs. Even less, when the photos, links and videos you share eat up their data and phone storage.
So STOP. Immediately. Now. Ask people if they would like to receive your incessant meaningless forwards – and only send stuff to those who say yes. Do not spam groups. Do not say ‘good morning’ every single day (maybe it’s not for one of your 600 contacts — who knows?) and do not, on any account, send pictures of religious deities unless your group is specifically about sending pictures of religious deities. (Or unless it’s picture of Emily Post, who is a goddess among women.) Fear karma, without needing to forward memes about it.