What I realised after quitting WhatsApp groups

Unable to handle the sheer volume of posts, I asked some of my friends to suggest ways to reduce the time spent on WhatsApp and increase the gap between successive checks. One of the groups went pretty serious on this and threw in several ideas such as switching off notifications, muting the group, disabling auto-download, and even having a schedule to check messages. But I had already done most of it, and was still struggling with too many messages. Then one fine day, I came out of several WhatsApp groups (and a few Telegram groups) cold turkey, with the following message:

Taking a break from most WhatsApp groups. Let me see how it works out ๐Ÿ™‚

However, I got the real sense only when I counted the number of groups exitedโ€ฆ 40+ groups! But why did I have so many groups? Family (multiple), school, college, work, ex-colleagues, current ones, professional networks, parents, apartment complex, local community, causes, etc. And what’s more, I was misusing WhatsApp as a storage repository. I had ‘groups’ to store notes and media files from various classes that my kids were attending, work-related tips, ideas for our startup, for our new home, etc. And most of these groups had just me and my partner so that we could simply forward something relevant to that group and later go back to easily look it up.

Apart from the number of messages, there was also a challenge with storage space on the mobile device – forcing me to back-up or delete regularly. And with so many groups, I had to enter one group at a time to even clear the green bubble. Eventually, there were so many green bubbles, that I started seeing red!

So here are the things that I realised after quitting the groups …

  • There was no FOMO – or ‘fear of missing out’. In fact, I had JOMO – the joy of missing out, a term I got to know while re-confirming this acronym through an internet search
  • No more group wishes for anniversaries or someone’s achievements. Or even a good morning wish or thought of the day.
  • No more depressing news; no more debates on civic issues, government apathy, or a feeling that my neighbourhood, my city, my country, or my planet is in big trouble.
  • No guilt feeling that maybe I could contribute more in certain communities. Or a complex that some folks are working really hard. Or just an unfinished feeling …
  • No more obligation to view all the cute pictures or videos posted in my family groups. Nor any guilt that I posted a thumbs up or a clap emoticon without viewing it fully ๐Ÿ™‚
  • No need to weed through a lot of mediocre content to find my pot of gold. And when I don’t even know about some great article or event through other means, why should I miss it?
  • And I definitely got more time! … at least enough to type this post ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I can wake up and go to bed within a few seconds of checking my mobile phone.

And now that I have all this time, I can prioritise and decide on the sequence in which I want to get back into the groups. But I’m in no hurry to see how all this works out anyway … ๐Ÿ™ƒ

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