Time to unplug social media more and savour real life

Mapula Nkosi That's Life
Image: 123RF

Heard the tale of the busty blonde mom who humiliated her teenage sons when she erroneously sent her nudes to the WhatsApp group that included high school hockey players and their parents, when she had meant to send them to her hubby?

I'm sure you have also been caught in a similar situation, sending the wrong message to an unintended recipient albeit sans the embarrassment on the scale of the hockey mom's.

In a recent moment of distraction a neighbour who is as straight-laced as they come also sent an intimate message to our housing estate WhatsApp group.

"Dear cupcake, I want my nunu waiting for me when I get home. I'm skipping red robots on my way rushing to get to you."

To top it all, it was signed "Red Stallion".

As we were reading the message the standard, "Sorry, message sent to wrong group" followed as Red Stallion apologised and you could hear a pin drop in the group as we all figured out what his "nunu" was.

To save him further embarrassment, no one commented on the mistake and we quickly moved on to another topic.

I was telling someone close to me that we have to invent a way to instantly delete a message sent to a wrong person or group before they read it.

Talking on WhatsApp has become the most inventive and interesting means of communicating of our time.

It just doesn't feel the same to communicate with SMS any more without that option to add a laughing or crying emoji for emphasis.

As much as I love WhatsApp groups, I have decided to declutter and spend more time in savouring my own real time, than being caught up not only in WhatsApp but other social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Unlike the latter two, WhatsApp is more of a necessity and sees many of us belonging to various groups to try and keep in touch.

It now takes a specially dedicated message clean-up time every morning that can last anything between half and hour to an hour to catch up with everyone's news, what with emojis increasing the clutter.

Out of 89 messages I was reading from our Cousins Club group the other day, half of them were just people who responded with emojis. There are days when you open your phone in the morning and find hundreds of messages in these groups and trawling through them is an absolute nightmare.

Without any WhatsApp etiquette, it can be difficult to manage people in groups who have thumb diarrhoea and make double and triple comments on every single point.

If there is a popular video making the rounds that week, you may feel like slitting your wrists when 10 other people send you the same video.

If only these intelligent robots that have become our cellphones could detect that you have already seen the video of the drunken dancing uncle and automatically reject it.

And what about that one odd person in the group who posts inane comments at 3am, waking you up as you are thinking the message sent is an SOS.

Some religiously send jokes in a group where that content is unbecoming.

Then there is that lonely aunt who sends five good morning messages to all of us every day and 13 various videos saying good night.

I love WhatsApp but I also have a life!