When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

I’ve only got myself to blame for getting into this and I’ve only got myself to blame for not quitting. In the world of social media marketing, companies are taking all sorts of novel steps to grasp our attention. It seemed like an interesting idea at the time, but has quickly taken a number of very strange turns.

When a WhatsApp group goes wrong


It all started on Twitter, where I follow a number of weird and wonderful accounts including the high street bakers – Greggs. At this point it’s probably useless trying to ask me why I was following the social media account for a place that sells sausage rolls. Why does anyone follow someone on Twitter really? I can’t honestly remember.

Then one day this tweet appeared and for some odd reason I thought it’d be a good idea to join…
When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

..now again, I can’t really explain my actions here. The rise of WhatsApp is something I’ve mentioned before, and it’s great to use in a group of friends or as a way to send and receive images without the cost of MMS. However, it’s slightly odd to join a completely unknown bunch of people when you sit and think about it. I was effectively giving my phone number to a random social media person from Greggs. I’m a bit worried about my own sanity at times. I really am.

When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

Shortly after, I got added, and that’s when the realisation set in. Initially, for a brief moment, I believed I’d be part of a special group who would get showered with gifts and special new pastries to try. I thought it was part of some new test or product which only special WhatsApp group members would receive.
When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

Alas no. It was painfully obvious that this wasn’t a great idea. Have you ever stood in a room where 250 people are all trying to talk at once? It was insane. Pages and pages of messages scrolled by – it was like looking at a checkout receipt as it printed. First someone would say, “What do we do now?”, then another 6 people would say the same, then 10 people would all be typing at once and you’d get all of them say, “Don’t know” or “Not sure” all at once.

When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

Then things got worse. People pushed the limits, sending pictures of themselves and their anatomy. People started swearing in response and, as those pictures flooded in, they’re all automatically stored to the phone as default. Sure, you can change that in the settings but….

When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

Then people actually started typing “ASL”. It was like a throw-back to message-boards from the 1990’s. Yet, strangely, I can’t bring myself to leave this insanity. Every now and then the Greggs moderator pops in, posts a “Competition question”, dozens of people then answer and they all got absolutely crazy if they don’t win. At the same time, a few winners announce that they’ve won a sausage roll.

When a WhatsApp group goes wrong

Wait a minute. I’ve got 250 mobile phone numbers listed against this WhatsApp group, I wake up to hundreds of messages, people seem to be flirting with each other and …. it’s all for a few free sausage rolls?!

What am I doing?

I’ve now resorted to muting it, and checking proceedings via WhatsApp Web, which is a much easier way of handling massive group chats for me. If you want to give that a bash, simply head to web.whatsapp.com and then fire up the “WhatsApp Web” option in the Android or iPhone app. You just point your phone at your laptop or PC screen and you’re done – it’ll sync with your phone and you can then type away on a “real” keyboard much more quickly. This is essential in a big group where conversations tend to move on quickly.

I must stop.. I need to quit!

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