The advent of the internet has brought about speed and convenience in virtually every aspect of our lives. The Nigerian space has been no small beneficiary. Our unexplainable drive to churn out what we commonly call “Associations” or when we want to sound unique, “Progressive Unions”, has always left members exhausted or even frustrated about making attendance. Hurray! The Whatsapp groups have practically taken that load off our backs. Simply click your mobile phone and voila! You are at your meeting.
But it seems to have raised some other issues. Can we take a look?
Knock Knock Jokes
I know that joke is really funny, or that you just have to let people know the latest in politics. As excited as you might be, can you consider taking out time to read previous posts before dropping yours? Some groups could have as many as 7 different posts back to back without anyone having the benefit of a response. The essence of a group is communication and if everyone is talking at the same time, then who is doing the listening?
Where is the Love?
An addition to the first issue, what I find even more worrisome is the way people gloss over personal information posted by other members of a group. If a post comes up about a sick member or the loss of a loved one, that is not the time to be posting pictures about how your shopping for the day went. What’s even worse is when this ‘culprit’ goes ahead to post a word or a sentence’s condolence message. Others get back to gist about celeb news. This can be very hurtful and insensitive, to say the least.
Another craze is the posting of pictures and videos. Very nice of you to keep people informed or entertained. It would be wiser to stop and ask yourself the relevance or beneficial value of the picture or video that you are posting. The most heart-wrenching for me are the gory ones with bloodshed and all. Haba! Even the TV stations give a warning about distasteful clips before airing them. It would be nice to do the same.
Rules of Engagement
Picture this: you come into a meeting at your office and while serious issues are being discussed, someone starts a discussion about the latest video that a comedian just posted. Anger in such a situation is the milder option. The alternative would be to question the sanity of such a person. So why do that online? Respect the rules of each group you belong to as well as the individuals. Professional groups should be professional and secular groups, secular.
I remember a common frame that decorated a lot of homes when I was growing up. Amongst other things, it reads, “Jesus is the silent listener to every conversation”. I think the Whatsapp group is one place that this really is true though lots of us are not mindful of it. There are always members of groups that would never say a word or post a picture. But they are there ingesting everything that is said or posted. So when passing comments, you equally need to remember they are present.
Don’t Ever Leave A Group?!
I presume most of us have seen the funny video of a guy berating a member of a group for leaving. On the contrary, I believe everyone has the right to leave a group. After all, it’s not like you slashed your thumb and dabbed your dripping blood on the phone screen to become a member. However, I think how you leave the group matters. Are you traveling? Resigning? Did they simply drive you up the wall? Irrespective of your reason, it is only polite, formal, if nothing else, prudent to say why you are taking a bow. It is often said, that you are only as good as your last performance.
Yes, the invention of the Whatsapp group is a great asset. But the way we utilize it will determine whether it shall be more of an advantage or a drawback to the original purpose of its creation in the first place.
Chioma Diru is a prolific writer, agricultural entrepreneur and life coach with a heart for children. Chioma works freelance for the BBC Media Action. Her work titled “The Twin Logs” was nominated for the Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize, 2016. She is Creative Director and Co-founder, Canuli Media which specializes in children’s entertainment. She is the author of “Sodality”, a children’s novel which you can buy here.Email her: email@example.com.