Well, social media has played a major part in keeping people in touch and informed. You can read all the day’s news from the chain of forwarded and reforwarded messages on Whatsapp, Facebook timelines and Twitter even before news break on the television.
Whatsapp groups are so numerous that the company decided to give you the option to mute notifications, and media exchange too much that you are now able to prevent any images or video from downloading automatically to your phone. People living in the same estate make major announcements through these groups.
Where am currently staying, for example, there has been this group where people leaving for work or home announce themselves with an aim of giving lifts to other residents. Those without cars have benefited from this, especially during the matatu crackdown of last year. In case of security issues, this is the place residents alert each other to lock their car windows, move their vehicles to a higher parking ground to avoid floods, pick their clothes that fell off the hanging line among others. People also promote their small businesses here, especially those who prepare food for sale within the estate. Recommendations on the best laundry lady among others are also made here.
I have also been on other groups that support learning as well as social and financial support, even though some begin and never grow because of member dormancy. Whatsapp groups have also been used for evil purposes.
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If you are a single and spot someone beautiful on a group, you are free to chat them up and even organise a date later. However, if you are married and use these groups to find people to advance your adulterous behaviours, it is sad. There are girls who are bombarded with messages from people who got their numbers on a shared Whatsapp group. They will pretend to know the girl, organise dates and all, but behind the scenes they are doing that with a million others. Womanisers are using social media to advance their agenda, and women do not even know it!
This is why you will find a person refusing to change their Whatsapp profile picture to include their partners. They do not know how to explain to their cheating buddies who that person is.
The problem is when someone leaves a group and nobody cares to ask what is happening. Or they put a sad profile picture and nobody cares to ask what happened. This also happens on Facebook. The biggest pointer that someone is going through a rough time is through their social cues. Facebook posts, Whatsapp status and profile pictures. Many suicide victims have been found to have posted numerous messages about death. But how many people actually reach out to find out how their friends are doing?
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When I left Whatsapp, I was on at least five groups. One was a church-based group. Another for school, another residential. However, not even my partner whom we live in the same house cared to ask why I left. I, however, must confess that I have seen people leave groups and did not bother to ask why. This was a major wakeup call that we should not ignore some signs. The truth is there are times I have left Whatsapp because I just needed a break from social media. But this time round, I was depressed!
Whatsapp signals you should never ignore
The following signals could indicate that your Whatsapp friend is going through tough times:
- They remove their Whatsapp image
- They post sad or bitter status updates
- Their profile picture is somber
- They stop talking all of a sudden
- They start posting angry responses
- They are picking fights with people on the group
- Their posts indicate that something wrong is going on
- Your Whatsapp friend starts blocking their friends
- They leave groups
- They quit Whatsapp
- They are selling everything
- They start shouting at you
These signs are not always a sign of trouble, but it does not hurt to reach out and find out what is happening.