19 October 2018

    Chana Boucher

    10 things you shouldn’t do on a WhatsApp group … and 5 things you should

    Don’t break the unwritten rules around group messaging etiquette.

    Be it for the neighbourhood watch, your child’s school, your family or circle of friends, or even an upcoming event, WhatsApp groups have pipped Facebook to the post as the most useful communication tool. But they can be incredibly distracting and oftentimes annoying if they are abused by members who post too much nonsense, too often. Don’t be that guy… here are some dos and don’ts you should read before your next WhatsApp group post.


    1. Keep your messages to a single post as far as possible. No one wants to see double-(or triple-) digit notifications.
    2. Answer questions posted by other members on the group… but only if you know the answer. If your response is simply ‘I don’t know’, let someone else answer.
    3. Check your messages before you post to make sure you’re posting to the right group. Remember what happened to Margaret van Wyk after she mistakenly posted a racy picture intended for her husband to a hockey group? Luckily, the developers have since made it possible to delete messages, but you have to act quickly to delete it before anyone sees and then there’s the matter of explaining what you’ve just deleted.
    4. Respond to RSVP requests.
    5. Use the reply function so that everyone knows what you’re responding to. Replies can easily be lost or taken out of context in a busy group. Just swipe right on the message you’re referring to and type your response.


    1. Go off topic. There’s no need to bring politics, religion or anything unrelated into a group with a specific purpose.
    2. Spam the group with special offers or adverts (unless that’s what the group was set up for).
    3. Be offensive or aggressive in your responses. If you don’t know all the members of the group and what is or isn’t acceptable to them, watch your language and avoid sharing rude jokes.
    4. Spread fake news! Unless it is from a reputable news source, don’t share stories you’ve found online or received from other WhatsApp chats.
    5. Leave without announcing your exit. The others will just think you’re rude. Better yet, rather mute the group than leave if some of what is being shared is useful to you.
    6. Stay silent. If you just read all the messages but never post, soon you’re going to be seen as the stalker in the group.
    7. Have one-on-one discussions in the group. Rather send a private message to the person you are chatting to.
    8. Post when you should be sleeping. Chances are the other members will be, so don’t disrupt their sleep cycle with messages, unless it’s a real emergency.
    9. Send loads of data-munching video clips or images.
    10. Ask a question before checking if it’s already been answered. Scroll up to see if someone has already addressed your query or send a private message to a member in the group who might have the answer. You can also use the Search function – just tap the name of the group at the top of the screen, then tap on Chat Search. Another handy tip is to Star messages you think you may want to read again, like useful links or references.

    Keep chatting 

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    Chana Boucher