It is my WhatsApp, not your hotline!

By Sandhya D’Mello

Most of us are addicted to WhatsApp (WA) and love the access it provides in real-time, what more can one ask for. Almost 1.5 billion people use this app and the numbers will only swell in future.  No matter, how popular it is with people, for me, it’s a boon as well as a hindrance. Here’s why.

Though I love the way it gives me access to my friends, family, colleagues or strangers, I feel a decorum should be maintained while using this platform.

People who call themselves educated should know how to conduct themselves while communicating on WhatsApp, be it colleagues, acquaintances or friends you have recently reconnected with from your past.

My message to anyone who wants to connect with me on the app is:  It’s my  WhatsApp and not your hot line! So stay clear unless you have something of vital importance to convey.

I am extremely thrilled to have quit from quite a few WhatsApp groups, but I live in constant fear of reconnecting with ‘obnoxious characters’ from my past. Some of them happen to be my former schoolmates, collegemates and some other ‘mates’.

I must confess I am not very fond of such groups because some members can be a constant distraction, and worst, they expect you to respond, even with a gall of remark.. “why is the group silent today?” My point, is it mandatory to mark your presence in the group 24/7?

Some time back, a couple of my collegemates snapped ties with me as I failed to respond to their messages due to my busy schedule. They found me to be arrogant. Blame it on WhatsApp!

Perhaps they may be right in doing so as they consider me not savvy enough to belong to their world. But such things don’t bother me.

The only regret I have, perhaps, it’s making me seem like a less important person in their ‘socially modern world’. After all, WhatsApp is supposed to be a benchmark  of acceptance  in their life and vice-versa. It’s a given that when people WhatsApp you they expect an instant response, regardless of what situation you are in. Agreed it’s the age of instant gratification, but then there are many among us who have other important things to do, leaving them with little time to gossip, babble or indulge in wasteful chatter online. And when you don’t respond to these ‘time wasters in a few seconds, they shamelessly  assault you with a barrage of  ‘question mark ‘ emojis.

Some people even have the audacity to WhatsApp past midnight. Some of these messages are sent across even in the wee hours. Come on, get a life! If you are suffering from insomnia, go see a shrink, don’t try to find refuge in your WhatsApp and disrupt someone else’s sleep. People have jobs to keep.

As for me, fed up with messages from these ‘late-night owls’, I now switch off my device or keep it on silent mode. Being a journalist, I know it’s cutting my life line, but do I have another option?

I recall a PR executive once messaged me at 6am asking me why a story she had sent across to me did not make it to the print edition. I am still getting over the  trauma of being questioned at 6am. Her sheer arrogance, demanding to know the reason; this PR woman was not even an acquaintance.

And now that I am taking baby steps in dealing with people on WhatsApp, I hope one day I will  muster enough courage to write back to that ill-mannered PR and tell her this is my WhatsApp, not your hotline.

Sandy as she is known hates when people ping her past midnight

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