Whatsapp has got the world closer by helping people get in touch with long lost relatives, school/college friends, colleagues etc. Smileys and emoticons fill our life via the cyberspace making each day a little more colourful than the previous day. Everybody from the middle school children to the people in their golden age are using Whatsapp to connect up with family, friends and other like minded people resulting in an utter chaos and melee which often becomes a source of many funny incidents and mistakes.
Being an active member of multiple groups, I enjoy my group chats and the associated drama along with its after effects. To give you an idea of the groups – Paternal family, Maternal family, Extended family, Marital family, Siblings group, School Parents group, Local Residents community, Apartments in the whole layout, Local Area Development group, School friends, College Friends, Close Friends and the list goes on.
The day usually begins with beautiful Good morning wishes and thought provoking messages which gradually progresses to jokes, religious and philosophical forwards. After going thru them, I get an irresistible urge to forward the short and crisp ones that I really enjoyed to the other groups, thus spreading the joy. Long and elaborate messages are complete put off for many people including myself. I also utterly despise the chain messages which threaten to bring bad luck if not forwarded to others.
Birthdays and Special occasions add to the cheerful mood of the group flooding the concerned with wishes, blessings and emojis. Cute family photos, naughty kids moment, everything is shared with the group. Who could resist boasting about our latest possessions, trips and achievements – especially to our friends and family? I have a compelling disorder to comment about any personal updates from group members. However some people respond only with emojis which sometimes looks better expressed than words. Whereas, some “holier than you” people pretend as if they have taken a vow of silence.
Once when I felt the need to stay connected with the other parents of my child’s friends, I initiated the topic of starting a Whatsapp group. All the parents were in agreement and completely enthusiastic about it. One of the parents responded that there is already a group existing like that and if interested I could join them. Imagine my surprise, when I found out that the group has only two members. Such is the pride of people, who wants to show others that they are one up against everybody else. I handed over all the collected phone numbers and let that keen person become the admin.
Friends – What is life without them? In a group of friends, there will be a mainstream chatting followed by a sideline chatting separately dissecting the tone in which a particular comment was made. “How can he / she be so rude? There was no need to be sarcastic and this was not the first time” and so on. All hell breaks loose, if in our eagerness we post our private chat in the main group by mistake.
Some people in the group do all kinds of planning from arranging a quick get together to planning a detailed potluck party. Bombarding the group with “What main course can you bring for 25 people?” “That dish does not go with the theme. What else can you make?” While appreciating such people and their efforts, we can’t help feel trapped. Also there will be some goodwill ambassadors in each group who will keep others updated about any blood donation needs, community services, charity drives etc. Often, there will be a clash as to who gets the credit for their benevolence among the otherwise generous people. Being asked to take sides during such arguments is the worst thing that can happen to a non controversial person like me.
When the social media politics became intense, I thought of taking a break and tried uninstalling the app, the system cautioned that I will be removed from all the groups in which I am part of. Hold on.. Panic stricken and gripped by the fear of missing out, “Undo, Undo..” screamed my mind. “A better approach would be to schedule a limited time everyday” reasoned my common sense. Hopefully, it will not be like an alcoholic’s resolve to quit drinking the next time. This Addiction is equally bad which needs to be addressed immediately to maintain our sanity and regain our valuable time back from the monstrous hands of our smart phones.
In short, we are living in an interesting era where we are socially connected with even distant people and emotionally away from even our loved ones. That is the irony of the society which is getting increasingly obsessed with social media networking such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Technology is a Good Servant, but a Bad Master. Don’t let it rule your life.
My Verdict on Whatsapp – “Stay Connected.. USE IT!! DON’T ABUSE IT!!”