Can we escape the tyranny of WhatsApp groups?

Sirin Kale

As I write, I have 101 unread WhatsApp messages, 254 unread iPhone messages and 46,252 unread emails across three separate accounts. For me, Inbox Zero is a faraway goal, as unachievable as mastering the perfect cat’s-eye flick, or learning how to cook.

But it is the WhatsApp messages, specifically the WhatsApp group chats, that terrorise me the most. If I were a woman of courage, I would simply exit these chats as soon as I am added to them; but I feel the weight of social obligation, and so I remain.

I am not the only person to feel this way. Last month, WhatsApp bowed to public pressure, and announced that users will be able to exit groups invisibly, without notifying other members of their decision. (The new policy has yet to be implemented, however.) The conflict-avoidant among us rejoiced: now, finally, we can slink out of groups without being perceived as rude. But 11 years after the instant messaging app introduced a group chat feature, will we ever truly escape the tyranny of the WhatsApp group?…