The first CHAT GROUP I was added to was one by coursemates from my Alma Mater. I did decline a few others when I was approached to be included by other groups I belong to. However, I set up the one for my "Village Association"in Lagos, but made others administrators while I remained more like an observer than administering the group, allowing others I made administrators control things there. I have been invited to several others since then but declined, also removing myself from the one set up be former classmates, and leaving only the Village Association one, mainly because I'm a member of the executive, and it isn't a good example to set by staying away from it. This however hasn't stopped me from gleaning experiences from other people who belong to two or more Whatsapp groups to spice mine.
With the school chat group from which I didn't waste time removing myself, it was with the constancy with which the message poured in, putting a strain on my battery's life, at a time I was away from my location for days on end, on a business trip, that caused my angst with the group initially. Even if I had muted their conversations it would also have cost me in data, especially as some members of the group appeared to turn the forum into their family affair, discussing things that they could easily have done privately, in public (space of Whatsapp Chat Group). Feelers since I left, just days after the group was set up point to the fact that I missed nothing hence I hadn't made any mistake removing myself, and would only miss knowing what my peers are presently up to, though I definitely wasn't interested in the unofficial competition amongst group members in showing off their stations in life, and seeing those less fortunate as disappointments or beneath the "CHOSEN" in the way they respond in condescension to comments to those they deem to not have arrived, when they decide not to ignore them.
Like I said earlier on, I couldn't remove myself from the one setup by my village association because of my position, as well as the fact that I set it up for the group. However, my experience has been quite frustrating to say the least. The very day it was set up, some guy who wasn't even at the meeting where it was decided that a Whatsapp Chat Group be set up, inundated us the whole evening after the meeting with pictures of products of his trade, even in to the night till the next morning, after seeing that we had added his name, as with others. It didn't take long before some members of the group started removing themselves. I thought about blocking him, but I wanted others to react, especially the other administrators. Fortunately, the chairman belled the cat by politely asking the offender to stop posting the pics. That temporary relief was soon broken by other nuisances among which included a few guys who would ensure to post at least two pictures just to say GOOD MORNING to
A GOOD MORNING MESSAGE FROM THE INCORRIGIBLE "GOOD MORNING" CREW.
members of the group. The constancy with which one member in particular posts these pictures every morning, is such that once when he failed to post one for the day, members suspected that something must've happened to him. Luckily, most of the pictures don't take too much data, but they fill the phones' gallery, that I now have an extra chore of having to delete these pictures as often as I enter my phone's gallery to do one thing or the other.
Another source of annoyance is videos, especially from those you know aren't active on social media, posting videos that had gone viral years and months back, like it just happened, but thankfully I simply delete them without even watching because experience has taught me that either I could never be interested in the kinda video that will be posted, or I'd have seen it elsewhere, especially on Facebook. Then the audio messages mostly from clergy of the churches some group members attend, and the many fake news, and long tales, many of which are unverifiable tales, a few of miracles that I simply don't bother to read. So, these days, once I'm going to be away from my phone especially before falling asleep, I simply put off the data service, so that chats hang till I wake to screen them, and respond to those I deem worthy of my time.
The most annoying on instant messaging platforms in Nigeria, or amongst Nigerians for me is the penchant for and rampancy in the distribution of alarmist information. You can never get enough of these from the fearmongering army that's made Whatsapp and other Instant Messaging apps their home, who on a daily basis dish out misinformation and disinformation geared at setting readers and believers of their missives on edge, and in perpetual FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN. The situation has assumed an alarming proportion, such that if what these purveyors of falsehood say about what we eat is true, for instance, then we'd be well off engaging in eternal fast, or live solely on water, which have also come under their microscope for condemnation as not being as pure as we thought, when they murmur about how water contains unseen chemicals capable of reducing our lifespan, even when apart from them not being scientists, present nothing but some flimsy test devoid of evidence of adherence to a strict scientific process, in cases when they intend to present their claims as not just mere hearsay, as proof that their lie is true. These set of Whatsapp users, when they are personal friends I totally ignore, while I warn a few at the risk of blocking them, but when such messages/videos appear on group chats I simply ignore, and allow the purveyors of alarmist news to continue to make a fool of themselves
THIS ONE FROM A FEARMONGERING ALARMIST.
before other members who also know that nothing such people say could be true or deemed as incontrovertible fact. Unfortunately, it must be, that the silent treatment has been interpreted by them to mean that they indeed have an audience, besides the few people who engage them in some conversation to ascertain the authenticity of their claims. Luckily, there are better people than these on IM spaces that makes the place an ideal setting for the exchange of ideas as well as a nidus for the agglomeration and coalescing of thoughts, the reason why I still remain very active on such platforms, regardless of the nuisance continually posed by those who wish to sacrifice a technology built to further advance human communications and relations on the altar of mediocrity and charlatanry.
Published by m'khail madukovich