Metroplus

The 'good morning' syndrome

Oh no! Not again! -- Photo: N. Bashkaran

Oh no! Not again! -- Photo: N. Bashkaran  

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Are you one of those who have suffered the wrath of the good morning messenger on your WhatsApp group? You are not alone

Your phone lights up with a loud ping of a WhatsApp message. And a series of pings follow. You wake up from your slumber to see who’s messaged you so early in the morning and if it’s anything important. But no, it’s just a string of good morning messages from the various groups you are part of. Annoyed? You are just one among millions who suffer the wrath of the ‘good morning’ group messenger.

Be it family, college, friends, work or hobby groups – they are everywhere. Relentlessly and religiously, they spam our mornings with images, videos and greetings that make the morning anything but good. “There is no escape from them,” grieves student Siddharth Joshua. “The moment I leave a group I am added back and though I’ve muted them all, my notification bar still shows the unread messages piling up. It’s inevitably annoying and I’m left with no choice but to open the messages. I can’t even be rude to them and tell them to stop for fear of hurting their sentiments and invariably have to silently bear the brunt of their ‘good’ will messages.”

Amit Shekhar, an engineer by profession and a blogger at heart, had to resort to the extreme of quitting WhatsApp. He is not alone, he points out. “I read about a lot of people online who have quit the popular social media app. There are various reasons, including the relentless group notifications and the huge amount of bandwidth that goes into downloading forwarded images and videos, but the most important reason is, of course, meaningless groups and their unrelenting ‘good morning’ messages.”

He contends that in the last few months that he has distanced himself from his smartphone, he realises just how much time the app used to take in his daily life. “There was one less distraction to worry about and the constant need to look at the phone every five minutes vanished. I make use of this free time to listen to some good music, watch my favourite movie in peace or read a book without disturbance.”

One of the reasons IT professional Nikita Jacob has deactivated automatic downloads on her phone is the people in her groups who wake up just to wish one another good morning. “Clearly they have no purpose in life other than annoying the hell out of me!” she laments. “Their one ‘good morning’ greeting is followed ritually by 20 other people responding back. They even annoy creatively with images and videos that wish good morning in so many terrible ways that the mornings have nothing good in them for me. I am sure half the money I spent in footing my huge mobile bills was because of internet charges for these nonsensical images and videos. I don’t even bother downloading them now.”

It doesn’t just stop with the ‘good morning’ messages, mourns Simeon D’Souza, a banker. “These people go on to share photos of what they have for breakfast, lunch and dinner, forward random viral chain messages, meaningless moral lessons and inspirational quotes. My cousins are the worst with their absolutely random selfies they religiously share almost every six hours to which the rest of the family in the group devotedly shower praises.” The worst is when they get into a random personal conversation with one person in the group, he adds. “Why can’t they just chat in private? And to top all this is that one drama queen in the group who has to exaggerate emotions for every message with a stream of emoticons.”

Naveen Thomas, an architecture student, contends that it isn’t all that bad. “At a time when people are becoming digital islands, WhatsApp groups help families and friends connect. Look at the bright side – at least there are people who wish you to have a good morning. If you can make it past the mindless spam, the app does help us socialise and stay in touch.”

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 11:31:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/the-good-morning-syndrome/article8188372.ece

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