Illustrated by Ly Ngo.
Group texting isn't a new phenomenon, but it's proven to be a popular topic of discussion lately. Gizmodo just published an etiquette guide (the bluntly titled "How To Not Piss People Off In A Group Text") addressing people's complaints and concerns.
Using her friend, "Carmen," as an example of a repeat mass text offender, writer Leslie Horn notes that "it's not the what's inside the text that's offensive — it's the act of gangbang texting that is at fault." We've all been there. But how to deal with it gracefully? Horn admits that being triangled (or octagoned?) into one of these chain texts is a treacherous ordeal, but offers the following guidelines: the texters should all know each other; it's okay to ask a chronic group texter to "cool it;" and if you're the one being to told to cut it out, for the love of God, respect that wish. Clearly, Horn's had some experience extricating herself from these awkward mobile age fiascos. She's a veteran we can learn from.
However, not everyone feels so negatively about this en masse form of casual communication. Maureen O'Connor at NY Mag loves her group text chains, thank you very much. She calls it a "virtual slumber party," and cites a series of examples where she and other digital BFFs share advice on clothes, dates, and sex in a way that the analog phone call age simply wouldn't have allowed. She also argues that group texting allows her to be closer to acquaintances that likely would have fallen out of her busy life otherwise. "Instead of trading hugs between classes, they’re swapping emoji," she writes of her generation's shift from dorms to lighthearted group text exchanges. It's superficial, she admits, "but that’s part of their joy." For O'Connor, the ability to glibly recap life's simpler, sillier moments instantly to a curated group of friends is welcome, and an integral part of how she socializes.
So, are group texts a major annoyance, or do they represent something special — being part of a secretive inner sanctum? We leave the debate open to you.