It’s probably safe to say that most of us do our texting on messaging apps instead of SMS nowadays. The few of us who still SMS are however besieged with requests to download this or that app to save on messaging costs and because messaging apps can let you do a lot more, such as send messages to a large group of people simultaneously.
Unfortunately, group chat brings about its own set of problems, particularly what we should or should not do when we are part of one. As much as a group chat can make sending a message so much easier, it is important to also not abuse those privileges. Here are 10 tips on how to have better group chat etiquette when on messaging apps.
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1. Don’t Create Massive Groups
Most messaging apps that let you create groups have a member limit in the double digits. But don’t take that as a challenge you need to fulfil. Even if WhatsApp caps it at 50, WeChat at 99, doesn’t mean we should add just about any Tom, Dick and Sally into the group.
Even if you are using the group chat to send notifications or bulletin updates, can you imagine if everyone posted a note of acknowledgement for every notice released? A "Meeting next Friday at 9.30pm" may get 99 "Got it"s and "Okays". And while we’re on the subject…
2. Don’t Include Unknown People Into Groups
It is best to only include people who everyone else in the group chat knows. I don’t know about you but I most definitely do not want an unknown person having access to my number.
While it may help save you time from having to send the same message to multiple people, there is no stopping an acquaintance from piggybacking on this new list of numbers you conveniently offered him, and what’s to stop him from offering a bank loan, insurance or any other product he is selling to the rest of the group?
(Image source: SAYS Tech)
3. Don’t Talk To Just One Person
You know why you made this chat right? To talk to everyone, not just to that one person who shared your inside jokes from last night’s party where you were both wasted. We don’t care what goes on between the both of you.
If you have something specific to bring up with one person, you are better off having a separate chat outside of the group. Spare the rest of us all the nitty gritty details, thank you. Plus, if you want to ignore the rest of the group, do consider shutting down the group chat – don’t make us an audience to a concert we didn’t want to see in the first place.
(Image source: India Times)
4. Don’t Bring Up Irrelevant Topics
On a separate but related note, keep to the purpose of the chat. Is the chat made to discuss a group project? Stick to the scope of your assignment until the job gets done; you can fool around once the goal has been achieved.
Are you discussing on a possible college class reunion? Stick to that and leave news of how everyone is doing for your gathering. Anything else outside of the chat’s purpose can be dealt with in a private chat, or better yet, in person.
5. Don’t Send Dubious And Unnecessary Content
As you are chatting, do keep in mind to keep your content clean, appropriate and more importantly spam-free. Seriously, keep all those NSFW jokes for private chats and quit sending us forwarded messages that "have not been checked but are forwarded – just in case".
Chain mail has been reincarnated into email, SMS and now via messaging chats. Don’t make it worse by spreading this via group chats as well.
(Image source: India Times)
6. Don’t Spam. Period.
Seeing as how a group chat is supposed to help you type fewer instances of the same message, don’t make the purpose redundant by repeating the same thing over and over aka spamming the rest of the group.
On the other side of the fence, read through the whole chat to find out if there is already an answer to the question you want to ask the group. This will prevent repetition of the same points while proving you understand the concept of group chat history.
(Image source: Naldo Tech)
7. Don’t Stay Silent
Make sure you say something if you are added into a group. You are added there for a reason, perhaps for your input and contribution on an issue. Try to be part of the group by adding in your opinion.
Also, understand that although opinions may differ and disagreements will probably pop up, staying silent means you take yourself out of the decision-making process – so don’t complain when things do not happen your way if you prefer to keep your opinions to yourself.
8. Don’t Send One-Word Answers
As an extension from #7, don’t just leave one-word or one-letter answers, k? Ok – or k for short – can mean a lot of things. Ok, you saw the message, or Ok, you agree with the statement, or Ok, the direction we’re heading at is good? Which k are you okaying?
This image perfectly describes the frustration with single-word answers.
(Image source: Daily Edge)
9. Don’t Message At Unearthly Hours
If you’re not going to call someone at 3.30am in the morning, why in the world would you send everyone a message in such an ungodly hour? If you know it is not okay to text someone off working hours, then apply the same logic to messaging apps as well.
Unless it’s an emergency that involves life and/or death, don’t distrupt everyone’s sleeping hours just because you can’t wait until the next morning to send your text.
(Image source: Behind The Basics)
10. It’s Time To Say Goodbye
Once the reunion is over, or the company event has ended, it is time to take your leave and exit the group. Group chats don’t really last forever especially once college is over or you have switched jobs. As much as you want the camaraderie to last, sometimes it is better to meet up face to face, than to hide behind a screen and express your emotions… via emoticons.
Oh yeah, I don’t care if you think emotions should be a language, don’t overdo the emoticons just because messaging apps make it ridiculously easy for you to do so.