We love them. We can’t live without them. We create them every time we meet up with old friends. Yes, Whatsapp groups—the glue that binds this generation 😏.
I bet you all remember that one guy, “We should create a WhatsApp group that way we can be sending updates.” Don’t you just love that guy? This is just one way WhatsApp groups emerge. The other and slightly more annoying is when you are seated at home sipping your cup of tea, minding your business and vuala someone adds you to a group. Then the guy goes on to add 50, 60 or 70 other people into the same group. Did I mention that the group name doesn’t give a clue what the group is about? Then comes the explanation, “Hi guys 🙂 , so I have added you to this group blah blah…”. Lest you all think I am angry at WhatsApp groups, there are some really helpful groups out there.
But my main concern is this : why so many disagreements on Whatsapp groups? Here are some that I have observed.
- Assuming a certain tone of voice in a message. Most participants in large WhatsApp groups don’t know each other very well. So the tone of voice used is bound to be misunderstood.
- Assuming everyone understands what and how you say something.
- Assuming silence means something it doesn’t.
- Taking on sensitive discussions over WhatsApp.
- Assuming blue-ticks means “read and ignored”.
So then how do we communicate effectively on WhatsApp?
- Seeking for clarification when you feel that you did not understand what someone wrote.
- Use emojis 🙂 to give a hint of the tone of voice. I have found this to be useful at times. When I want to be sarcastic, I would use the 😏 emoji.
- Meet and talk it out in order to avoid misunderstanding. This really helps when dealing with sensitive matters. When a discussion is growing beyond bounds where having it on WhatsApp is not useful. It might be best to have the conversation face to face. At least then, the parties can understand each other better than over WhatsApp.
- Reply to messages directed to you. Giving the silent treatment is most times rude. I fail in this area a lot. You can ask me something in a WhatsApp group and I will just not reply to it.
- When writing a message try to be as clear as possible. We write with the same style with which we talk. Our close friends will understand our WhatsApp messages since they know us well, but the new person in the group won’t. We just need to be more sensitive to situations that need more clarity. When participants in a group get accustomed to each other then mutual understanding is achieved with less and less effort.
These are my two cents on WhatsApp groups. What are some of the causes of misunderstanding in WhatsApp groups that you have spotted and how do you think they can be tackled?