Thursday, July 17, 2014

Whatsapp group: A User's take

Screen, when I re-installed the app in Feb 2014
When Whatsapp came onto the tech scene, a lot of folks were glad they could 'swerve' SMS costs with respect to sending multiple messages to their contacts.
Believe it or not, a number of users (still) do not know that Whatsapp uses the Internet.
They've not 'swerved' costs after all. Hehe
Sending of information, however, has not been this convenient, prompt; effective -- and in real time.

The whatsapp group feature
This is the latest craze in Whatsapp usage, with users forming groups (of up to 50 members -- updated to 256 members since 4th Feb, 2016) based on common interests and relations.
In as much as this feature makes the sharing of info among peers fast and efficient, it can be annoying sometimes (or almost always) when some regulations are not laid down.
One very effective use of the Whatsapp group feature is the one, Ashesi University lecturer, Kobby Graham had with his class. A very good use case.
Yes, we are entitled to freedom of speech and expression, but some people go way overboard with the sharing of 'irrelevant' content.
Some of tips for effectively being part of a Whatsapp group:

  1. Do share messages that are relevant to the group's objectives. If the group is just for friends having fun, well, then I guess your chargers should always be close by.
  2. Reading long messages on Whatsapp can be daunting. Do limit your messages to a maximum of ten (10) lines.
  3. As a group, decide on times to share information. This can be productive. Random postings can be distracting and annoying. Again if it is a group of friends, and you want to avoid distractions, mute your Whatsapp notifications.
  4. If it is a group where discussions on social, political, religious, or any other kind of issues are held, do MAKE sure to confirm your facts before sharing. 
  5. Do be sensitive to the feelings of others when sharing information that can be emotionally destructive. An example is the current pictures, audios, and videos on Whatsapp about the Castro incident. Just unfortunate!
  6. Do not indulge in a conversation with a group member, on the group's page. Kindly chat privately with the person, and stop disturbing other group members with your convo.
I had a chat with a very good friend of mine, Rafe. We discussed our experiences with tech gadgets and apps. It's our mini techRepublic we've been having since 2005.
An idea that he came up with is a feature in Whatsapp to allow users choose which contact they would love to get a message from. Cool, huh?

I will like to.hear your experiences with Whatsapp groups and what you think can be done to enhance the user experience.
Let me have them via the comment section. Thanks.


  1. Cool tips. Most people in Ghana have stopped being sensitive to issues of cruelty or death. They want to be the first to break the news, and the first to create unnecessary humour out of people's sorrows. The case of Komla Dumor and P.V Obeng are examples.
    I will caution a member of a group in the first instance. A repeat will see me out of the group.

  2. Enyonam DoamekporJuly 17, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    One issue with the group chat is the sharing of broadcast messages. The frustrating aspect for me is when i receive a particular message, picture, audio or video more than once. Good points made though. Big ups Qaphui

  3. Ato Ulzen-AppiahJuly 17, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Thanks for the use case with Kobina Graham.

    The unseriousness of making humour out of sad situations is very bad and is making one trait of Ghanaians to rear its head. #WeAreNotASeriousPeople

    Great tips on making the groups useful to all and the group itself.

  4. Touché. I believe with the huge volume of messages folks do not read, it is difficult (sometimes) to tell if something one wants to share, has already been shared. I'm sure if things are streamlined in groups, that would be a thing of the past.

  5. Hehe, I get that too sometimes. As I hinted, you can change your group notification settings. Helps a lot.

  6. I think it would be really cool if Group admins laid down some rules, before things get out of hand. What's the point in being the first to share a particular news, and showcase one's folly?

  7. Oh Chale, it gets to me --really. I remember some years back, I shared a status on Facebook and stated that God looks at Ghana, whenever He's in need of comic relief.
    As for the use case, Kobina Graham is a cool cat. I just admire him. You know the creator of Whatsapp referred to his case, when he stated that he had heard of Whatsapp's use in Ghana? (This was right before the sale to Facebook).

    Let me add that you are a cool Whatsapp group admin too. Hehe

  8. Ato Ulzen-AppiahJuly 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM, a cool Whatsapp group admin? How could I be one and not like all the unserious memes flying around?

    Whatsapp groups are awesome and I like how we use them at the GhanaThink Foundation. If I get the vim and time, I'd blog about that.