Update(Nov 2017): After deleting Whatsapp, I reinstalled it after 23 months. Whatsapp has become a necessary evil because of the network efforts. Detaching oneself from the medium doesn't solve the medium's problem.
I've been thinking of quitting whatsapp for some time now. The urge has been strong since the beginning of this year. This has to be an informed decision since I don't have a Facebook account. There are more chances for me, to lose the communication with others.
Being an early adopter, I switched from SMS to whatapps as soon I came to know of it. Ads free, a year's trial, Groups was convincing enough for me. When two third of my contacts started using whats app, Things gradually started to clutter. People could add me to school, ex-office groups without my consent. Then each morning, I will be greeted with the trending memes and GIFs. I say to you, there is a crazy amount of work that goes into making each of memes. I seriously wonder why people spend all their energy for such a temporal thing. In the beginning, it appeared normal, but as the days passed, it started to become overwhelming. The thing with the group is, all the time someone will be carry the baton when the rest are away. Catching up with the things that happened during my absence, felt worthless.
Muting helped to an extent. Slowly, "unread badge" started becoming psychic weight over me and I could feel restless until I clear them all. I realized that muting is half a solution to a problem, that never required solution in the first place.
My act of muting groups for a very long time and just being a spectator without either sending or caring to read messages, provoked questions within me.
What value I get by being a member in such groups, what value I offer in return?
Why should I even be a member of such group in the first place?
I also noticed yet another problem. Technology has made communication inexpensive and took the human touch out of it It was evident from this year's new year eve. There was no joy in seeing those wishes for the occasion. The joy you get when a friend wishes you over the phone, the fulfillment you get by wishing someone. But these whatsapp messages were formal, courteous, simply temp-latish. A friction like not being on whatsapp is sufficient to separate grain from the chaff. I quit whatsapp for telegram two weeks ago with my inner circle of half a dozen. Since we knew each others schedule, I now receive meaningful real messages. There are no SPAMS or forwards and importantly no namesake chit chats to stay in touch from casual contacts.
This real time communication is a good place to hang out if you want to be entertained, network. But if you really want to get stuff done, stay away from it and work on own your thing. By constantly being available, you are actually hurting yourself
If you ever regret not having enough time to do the things you want to do, make it little harder for yourself to indulge in this time stealing activities. By introducing a friction, I was able to free myself from the power hose. Fortunately, I dint lose any of the communications with those who mattered as they understood me and moved along. It was not as scary as I thought it would be. Now, I am able to give my complete attention to people I talk with and to things I do. The quality of time I spend on things has improved without digital distraction. I don't see myself going back to whatsapp again.
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