Ping! A notification, whoohoo! I got a whatsapp message, or wait.. 350 unread messages!! In this age of instant communication and accessibility, its important to re-evaluate our ways of communicating better with each other, therefore I have decided to write 8 Ways to Ensure Good Whatsapp Etiquette. If you have any other points, please share them with me. I would love to hear your views.
1.GET TO THE POINT – Please do not message and just say “Hi” and expect me to say “Hi” back. I do not have time in my day to start a conversation with small talk. Get straight to the point. I would prefer, “Hi, hope your well, I wanted to ask if you would like to come cycling with us over the weekend in Matopos at 6am on Saturday”. That makes it so much easier to know why you want to chat. And please do not write “hie” either. There is no “E” in “Hi”…grrrr!!! Please get to the point or else I will not reply. And pliz do nt typ lyk dis itha..
2.INCLUDE EVERYTHING IN TO ONE MESSAGE – If you are like me, you may have that one friend(s) who likes to say..
How are you (send)
How are the kids (send)
I was wondering (send)
If you are free (send)
With me (send)
Please understand that if my phone is not on silent that it will ping 15 times just because you could not type everything in one go without resisting the temptation to press enter.
3.BLUE TICK DOES NOT = RESPOND IMMEDIATELY – In some cases, (if you can get to the point that is), an instant response can do. This is what can happen in case you get blue ticked. Perhaps you open the message and someone rings your gate bell at the same time. You think, let me see who’s there and come back to my phone. Meanwhile, the other person is getting frustrated because he or she expects you to reply immediately. It doesn’t happen! There is a life outside Whatsapp. Please be aware of this.
Here’s another common scenario. Someone might have sent me a recipe in Whatsapp and I go into the message to read it and follow the steps. Meanwhile, my friends see ‘online’ and gets excited because I am now expected to respond. If I have flour and eggs on my hands, I am going to wait until I am finished making pancakes and wash my hands before replying any messages. Please allow me time at least to wash my hands..
4.WEEKENDS AND EVENINGS RULE – Don’t message a work related request in the evening or weekend to anyone. There is a thing called Family Time. There is an 8 hour window for work related requests. If a message comes in the evening, don’t be surprised if the person does not respond because they will not be in the frame of mind to concentrate on a work request. Rather send an email because most people check their emails first thing in the morning and your request will be given the attention it deserves.
5.DON’T ADD ME TO GROUPS I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT – If you add me to a group of 200 people without my knowledge, I will leave. Groups are hard work especially if people are not disciplined in sticking to the purpose of those groups. I don’t want to be in a “Dance group” and people start chatting about how badly the Kombis are driving in the morning. Please do not fill my mind with unnecessary information. If I am not actively part of an organization, I do not wish to be updated about things I am not involved in.
6.IF ITS URGENT, PHONE – Hello, the phone was invented to PHONE! After 6 hours of waiting for a reply on Whatsapp, please don’t tell me it was urgent. And if you do phone and its urgent, please don’t put “Private Number” because if I miss the call, I won’t know who you are.
7.AS FROM TOMORROW POSTS – If you send me a whatsapp that starts, “As from tomorrow..” Please do not be surprised if I block you. There has been a Whatsapp message circulating for 5 years, As from tomorrow whatsapp will be charging, if your icon is green bla bla.. Chain messages = I will block you!
8.AT THE DINNER TABLE – I understand that you have family all over the world and you want to stay in touch. Did you know that they can wait until after you finish eating or you can say, “I’ll message you later I’m about to eat.” Unless of course you like mixing your rice and stew with laughing emojis. Dinner time is special. Leave your phone for 30 mins at least while you eat and share stories about your day with your loved ones. I promise, your phone will be there later with more message to reply and group chats to catch up..
Whatsapp is a great communication tool but without some clear boundaries, it can cause frustration and breakdowns in communication. Try by all means to consider that people might be occupied and don’t assume they are always available. If it really is a life and death situation, make an alternate way of contacting them. Try to be clear and if you have time to chat that’s also fine but if not, respect that people have lives and your message can wait if you have nothing else to do but send Whatsapps all day.