WhatsApp group notifications driving people off messaging app

‘You have left the group’: WhatsApp users reveal constant stream of notifications from group chats is driving them off the instant messaging app

  • Some annoyed users find Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging app overwhelming

The constant stream of notifications from WhatsApp groups is driving people off the messaging app, users say. 

People switching off from Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging service find them overwhelming and too difficult to manage.

While it is causing the boundaries between professional and personal life to be blurred with ‘kisses’ being left on work requests. 

This is despite WhatsApp rolling out a number of features to help people manage their messages such as muting chats and ‘silently leaving’ groups.

Mayah Riaz ‘hates’ WhatsApp but hasn’t yet deleted the app from her mobile phone as she feels like ‘I have to have it as I don’t want to miss out on any messages’. 

She now mutes all notifications from the app. 

WhatsApp group chats are causing the main annoyance among users despite a raft of tools being made available to help people manage their messages 

People switching off from Mark Zuckerberg’s messaging service find group chats overwhelming and too difficult to manage

‘I was so glad when they introduced the feature to hide your online status. I have removed the read message notification too,’ she told MailOnline. 

‘Why should anyone be able to know when I’m online or if I’ve read their message. And don’t get me started on the groups, oh, all those groups.’   

Five WhatsApp features to manage messages

The messaging service has implemented a number of tools to help users manage messages.

Group creators can toggle settings so only they can send messages.

Other options include: 

  • Silently leaving groups
  • Archiving chats
  • Turning off read receipts
  • Hiding online status 
  • Muting chats 

Source: Meta 

Polly Arrowsmith was once left ‘kisses’ for a work request and definitely prefers to use SMS.

The 56-year-old award winning IT managed service business told MailOnline: ‘This is where the personal and professional blur, as personal things get asked, such as what I am doing at the weekend, or I may find kisses added to a work request on what a professional relationship is. 

‘I prefer friendly, personal messages not to be on my professional messages. It’s a personal thing. WhatsApp also encourages less formal writing, so sometimes, I need to pick up the urgency of a request, as it is disguised in a chatty paragraph. 

‘I find it hard as I never know if anyone will text or WhatsApp me, or I find it distracting to be phoned on WhatsApp while I am on my mobile taking a call. They can think that you are ignoring a call, while I am not.’

She now has two lists of calls and messages to manage to load but still finds it stressful. 

Ms Arrowsmith added: ‘It is definitely making the separation of personal and work life harder as people are also more likely to use WhatsApp over the weekend.’

The ‘absurd amount of groups’ means Marcio Delgado, 43, leaves them the second he is added to them. 

The digital journalist said they made him more anxious coupled with the pressure to be constantly contactable. 

A mock up WhatsApp conversation with the blue ticks showing the messages have been read. Many have pointed to this being a bugbear meaning they feel ‘obliged to respond’

He’s hoping to wean himself off the messaging app even more next year. 

‘The thing is, even turning off WhatsApp notifications it still gives me a sort of FOMO if I don’t open the app for a few hours and, suddenly, I see too many unopened messages – especially if they are part of a recently created group that I haven’t yet managed to remove myself from it,’ he says.

James Francis is a consumer expert at mobile marketplace Mozillion and has noted a trend from customers wanting to be part of fewer chat groups.    

READ MORE: The death of WhatsApp? How a generation of texters are switching back to ‘chic’ old-fashioned SMS as pressure to be constantly contactable leaves them with ‘anxiety’

‘They become difficult to manage with multiple conversations taking place in them and some people find it overwhelming with all the constant notifications – especially if every message isn’t relevant to the reader,’ he said. 

‘It becomes a little bit like an out of control email inbox so people are looking for alternatives.’

Despite the boom in smartphones with the latest iPhone and Google Pixel release hitting the shelves in recent months, Mr Francis says people are starting to sway towards stripped back phones. 

He said: ‘With an increase in people wanting a “digital detox”, basic feature phone interest is on the up as people look for simpler phones that have basic call and text functions – for example, we’ve definitely had far more interest in Nokia phones on Mozillion this year compared to 2021/22.’

Others have leapt to WhatsApp’s defence, such as pensioner Barbara McMillan who relies on the app to keep in touch with her family.

The 79-year-old told MailOnline: ‘For the number of contacts I have, I don’t find it a problem to keep up with them, but do find it a lot more convenient than phone calls, which always appear more urgent due to the ringing tone. 

‘I also use it to store information on my phone since I have been without a computer. Most of my SMS are business related or appointments or spam. The bane of my life.’  

WhatsApp is currently undergoing a makeover but the sleek new look may not be enough to win back those who have jumped ship.

One of those is dating expert Clarissa Bloom, 34, who on average would receive around 300 messages a day from the 12 groups she was in.

The sight of a WhatsApp message pinging up on her phone would leave her stomach in knots ‘like I had just consumed copious amounts of caffeine’ even after she had muted nine of the groups.

Dating expert Clarissa Bloom, 34, is one of those who has turned their backs on WhatsApp after messages popping up on her screen left her with a knot in her stomach 

‘It just felt overwhelming and stressful, even though the messages were always nice posts from friends and family,’ she told MailOnline.

She points to WhatsApp desktop wreaking havoc with her daily life with the constant stream of messages popping up on the screen hampering her work.

READ MORE: WhatsApp now lets you start group voice chats that are ‘less disruptive’ than group calls – here’s how to try it

‘It used to give me anxiety as I felt the need to instantly respond, however it would break up my rhythm,’ she said.

‘I would also try constantly to read messages on WhatsApp by flicking my phone down and seeing the opening line, rather than clicking on it, so people didn’t see I read it, as I simply couldn’t watch a movie or a show without having to constantly stare at my phone.’

WhatsApp dominated Pearl Kasirye’s life as she used it for work, school, and personal messaging.

But the 25-year-old PR consultant at Magic PR grew tired of it. To escape its clutches she resorted to changing her number and only gave it to close friends and family.

‘WhatsApp is so annoying at times, but I have found a good way to drown out all the noise because I now rely on SMS and I’ve noticed that people text me less frequently and just call me instead,’ she told MailOnline.

‘I got really tired of my notifications going off all day and having to “constantly be on” as part of the jobs I was doing. This decision to stick to SMS has made my life easier and eased some of my anxieties about constant texting.’ 

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