Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Whether it is WhatsApp, GroupMe, iMessage or another messaging service, group messages can be both a blessing and a curse. They can save you from eating lunch alone, plan meetings and Friday nights, strengthen friend groups and be a perfect tool for creating inside jokes. However, they can clog up your phone, cause unnecessary drama and create a lot of frustration. In order to maximize the benefits of your group message, use these tips!

1. Have a clear purpose.

This is a tool that can be very beneficial if it has specific job. That job can be to organize meetings, set up lunch dates, plan parties, or to strengthen the ties between a group of people. But whatever it is, it has to be clear to all involved.

2. Choose wisely.

If it is a group message for a club, board or project, figuring out who is in and who is out is pretty simple. But, when you start making group messages for friend groups, it gets more complicated. Forming a group message is like forming a new club, so whom you pick says something about the group and can change the group dynamic. A lot of drama about group messages because of the people chosen to be or not to be in the group, but if it is clear what the purpose of the group is and the members reflect that, this will not be an issue. For example, I do not like going to the movies, so if some of my friends start messaging each other about going to the movies and leave me out of it, I won’t be offended.

3. Keep to the purpose.

If this group message about going to the movies because a space to make plans to go to parties and grab dinner, I would be offended. It is natural for conversations to transition, but make sure that if the conversation changes, you add people that would want to contribute. This does not mean you need to add new people to the group message, but rather make sure that if they are not in the group message they still have all the information that is relevant to them.

4. Establish a tone.

Do you tell jokes on this group message? Is the conversation allowed to get serious? Is it appropriate to text the group late at night? It is important that you do not say anything in the group message that you wouldn’t yell to a room of all the group message members.

5. Keep basic etiquette.

Pretend that group messages are like Twitter feeds with only a certain group of people. Keep the messages short and succinct. Do not have a long one-on-one conversations via a group message that won’t be appreciated by everyone, that is the purpose of texting. Every thought that comes to your mind does not need to be put on the group message. Therefore, if you do not think anyone would want to favorite, retweet, or reply to your message, do not send it.

6. Remember that not everyone has a smart phone.

If not everyone in your desired group has an iPhone, use GroupMe rather than iMessage. In addition, if someone in your group does not have a smart phone, realize they get every message as a new text, so keep that in mind when sending messages.

7. Try not to talk about the group message.

Pretend it is Fight Club. Unless you are in a room with all the people from your group message, don’t talk about it. Talking about the group message can easily lead to drama amongst its members, make others feel excluded and spread information that people may have wanted to be private. In general, talking about a conversation that already happened is useless.

8. Don’t forget to talk to these people in real life.

Make sure your conversations in the group message lead to real-life interactions like getting coffee or going on runs.



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the author

Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Adam Mintzer is a sophomore at Northwestern University, and loving every second of it. He is a journalism major and business minor with an interest in broadcast journalism and marketing. He prides himself on having explored many parts of campus life by being the Vice President of his residential college, a member of Greek life, a campus tour guide, and the Video Editor for NorthbyNorthwestern.com.

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