The top 3 worst group chats to be in
31 July 2014, 14:18
Abuja - Anyone who has ever been a part of an unwelcome 'Group Message' will know that it is something similar to a hostage situation.
You never asked to be added in the first place, but if you delete yourself off the GM, everyone will know that you did, and what will they think of you?!
To make matters worse, in a double-edged strike of cellular and social-medium, these hostage takeovers can now come to you directly to your phone.
Perfect. It can find us, day and night, no matter where we are.
Here is a list of the top 3 WORST kinds of Group Messages I have encountered:
1. The Change Of Address Group
A GM to everyone in his friends’ list (I assume, based on numbers of recipients) sent when he moved from one house in another country where he has been living for many years, to another house in that same country where he intends to keep living for many years.
I didn't visit him before, I don’t see any foreseeable chance of me visiting him in the near future, and I don’t man his magazine subscriptions, so I don’t see the point of including me in the change of address notice.
Subsequent ‘Congrats!’ and ‘Oh, how fun,’ ‘Good job,’ and ‘Moving Day!’ and even ‘Long time dude. Do you want to come to my ‘insert-personal-private-invitation-here’ next month?’ ensued.
All 63 replies.
To my inbox.
Facebook has never been so chatty.
How is it that a change of address could find its way into a group chat?
I mean, do we really need to know that someone has moved from Dubai to Dubai? In this day and age, how many of us use physical addresses for correspondence anyway?
Sure there may be a certain lost appreciation for hand written (and posted) letters, but if you are using subliminal Facebook GMs to let us all know that you have a new postal address to which you would like post posted to, beckoning us all to whip out the dusty A5 and put some old fashioned ink to use, then I’m afraid you fail dismally at the art of subtlety.
If you just thought that your change of address warranted a 209 strong group chat situation, then I feel sorry for you.
Scratch that. I feel sorry for me, for being one of the victims, dragged in and nailed down under the facebook floor-boards of your oh-so-important life choices.
As much as I like you, at the very least, there has to be a level of self-delusion going on there.
(Needless to say, I took the road less travelled and removed myself from the group as soon as I realized trigger-happy thumb-jockies were at play on their smart phones, but only because I have been a victim too many times before and was not about to go through it all again.)
2. The Class Moms Group
As much as we all know how important it is to keep updated on what is happening in our children’s school calendars, bake sales and get-togethers, is it really that important for Suzie to let Marnie know, on the group chat, that she has her little angel’s pink sparkly hello kitty ballet shoes which were left behind at last week’s play date?
Message Marnie directly, Suzie! You have her number.
Don’t even get me started on the moms who think that blasting shameless self-promotion and religious convictions is appropriate for the group meant to let everyone know that a bout of chicken-pox has broken out at school.
It makes no difference to me that your husband’s show is slipping slowly into obscurity due to slow ticket sales – I wasn’t going to go in the first place and I won’t be going now, no matter how many ‘Just thought I’d let you know’ messages you spam us with, even if they do include smiley faces.
Stop hijacking the group. I don’t care HOW good your great aunt’s daughter-in-law’s overpriced cupcakes are or that the Holy Noodle saved your life. Ladies, please please PLEASE stop wasting my data bundle!
3. The Baby Watch Group
Possibly the worst of all hostage situations, this group has evolved from its predecessor, the "Look at my New Baby" group.
You can’t take yourself off this group because, well, you have to wait to see the newborn selfie and say congrats, right? To avoid hurting the feelings of the friend who is, quite understandably, wobbly in her fragile post-natal state.
Also, if there is one thing I have learnt from being a 30 something woman, it’s that people are downright devotional when it comes to the incomparable importance of their children.
Yes, we are happy for you and we welcome human number 108 billion and 1 to earth...
But starting the group FOUR DAYS PRIOR TO GIVING BIRTH?
That’s just excessive narcissism.
‘Is he born yet?’, ‘How’s mommy feeling?’, ‘Any sign?’, ‘Have you tried doing tantric jumping jacks?’ ‘Has daddy been practicing changing poo nappies?’ ‘What colour is the nursery?’ are some of the hundreds of messages that dinged my phone to within an inch of its battery life that week.
‘But group messaging is just how things are done these days,’ you say. ‘It’s a matter of convenience and not my fault if it’s set up like that.’
Hmm. If only there were a way to broadcast a message to everybody without forcing them to be subjected to all replies...
Oh wait. There is!
On Whatsapp it’s called ‘Broadcast’ – an aptly named magical function that allows you to do exactly that: send your message to a bunch of people, as many as you like – your entire contacts list if you want – but with one amazing little difference - all replies come to you and you alone.
On Facebook it’s called a status update.
On the receiving end of an email it’s called ‘reply’ – not ‘reply to all’. (Yes YOU, office chat-spammers!)
And if all else fails and you simply must have that private conversation right there and then, phone a friend. It’s what phones were intended for in the first place.
I could go on and on about this, but I think I have made my point.
Even though I would never actually confront the assailants themselves for fear of being ostracised, going about this in an anonymous passive-aggressive way has been cathartic.
I thank you for listening, and maybe this will help spread the word so I don’t have to start the GMwars on Twitter.
After all, I don’t want to offend the offenders, because, as mentioned before, they are my friends. And what’s a few hostage situations between friends?