A month ago, a friend of mine texted me to join a group on a Social Media (SM) platform, WhatsApp. He further specified the purpose of the group and asserted that they want me there. I found this friend quite professional, because nowadays, on SM, who follows the etiquettes of asking for a permission before adding a person in a group. I replied him, that if the group actually serves the cause, I’d be happy to join. However, given the culture of creating groups on SM, I apprehended if it is not going to be the same. He replied in otherwise, that the group is vibrant and is serving the cause and that my presence is felt necessary. Anyways, the friend added me into the group. But, to my expectations, till date, it has been a month, no communication, not even a Copy-Paste message has been posted there.
That is just a live example of WhatsApp groups on SM. The maladies of groups on SM are never ending and it is largely because most among us don’t know the ethics of creating a group. These groups can be really fruitful and one can get in touch with his businesses of interest in a more convenient way, if professional ethics are followed. Many groups like these do exist there.
But what happens most of the times is that people add others in the SM Groups without asking their permission. Even the friend without knowing the consent of other friend adds him in the group.
On WhatsApp, consequent to the name & description, groups are created for various purposes. But rarely the purpose of the group is taken into consideration. Comedy videos are pasted in Religious Groups, News Groups are flooded with random pictures, groups meant for books is actually used for news articles, official groups are used for unofficial material, while as fake groups in the name of different agencies, organization and forums are not uncommon.
People sometimes feel it a privilege that they are part of a certain group, even if the group is actually serving nothing. What a student has to do with the group of farmers?
People forward the stuff in other groups, while thinking that they are the only ones who know about the given stuff and they should take this opportunity to share it with others without wasting much of a time.
Some groups are created for lofty causes. But they are always in a mute form. There is no one allowed to post something, while as the admin is also in a sleepy mood.
Some people are cautious. They seriously want you in a certain group. Hence ask you before adding in there. For some days the group looks vibrant. But then it changes with each day passing in such a way that after a week there exists no one even to copy-paste the material.
The addition of a WhatsApp user in the large number of groups many a time drags him away from those useful and important groups, which are actually meant for him.
In all thi, it becomes very much difficult for a person to leave the group, because the friend(s) over there are most likely going to take the exit very much seriously.
Hilal Ahmad Tantry is a Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, University of Kashmir