Another dot in the blogosphere?

WhatsApp-tiquette

Posted on: March 27, 2017

 
WhatsApp groups: Bane or boon? It depends how you use them.

A basic Google search will reveal the many sites that suggest how to be civil in a WhatsApp chat group. I weigh in with recommendations from an educator’s point of view.

Don’t spam.

  • Don’t send ten messages when one will do.
  • Refrain from providing resources or starting discussions that are off-topic.
  • Send a private message to one person instead of sending to all in a group, especially when the topic is not relevant to the rest.

Respect boundaries of time and space.

  • If you start a group, establish and enforce communication window periods. As supportive as a group space might be, we also need to rest and spend time with loved ones.
  • Avoid over sharing unnecessary details. TMI is like PDA; less is more.

Don’t send large photos or video files.

  • We do not all have the same tolerance, bandwidth, data plan, or storage space for large files.
  • Do send links from reputable and secure cloud-based sites like Google Drive or Dropbox instead.

Include context in replies.

  • You are inside your own head whereas others might not understand to whom and to what you are referring.
  • Long-press on a message to reply with context.

Don’t use too many emojis if you want to be understood clearly or taken seriously.

  • Text is easy to misinterpret; emoji even more so. WhatsApp messages tend to be concise, so it is critical to be clear.
  • This is particularly important if the WhatsApp group comprises of individuals from different backgrounds and cultures.

Check your spelling and grammar.

  • This is particularly important when you are included in a professional group or if you represent an organisation.
  • This is not about following someone else’s standards; it is about showing what yours are.

Don’t be an ass.

  • If you are, pretend not to be one. Be polite. Say please and thank you.
  • Consider how you might say something in person, then dial it back a notch or two. The missing social cues make this necessary.
  • If others do not reciprocate, you can mute the group or leave it.

This is not an exhaustive list. It is an easy one I compiled by comparing my experiences in WhatsApp with my son’s and asking him what his recommendations might be.

I was a bit surprised by how much our thoughts overlapped. But I was not that surprised because human connection without civility — WhatsApp etiquette in this case — is something even kids value.

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