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Why you can no longer ignore that WhatsApp group chat

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We’ve all been there. You’re at work with a massive pile of admin to get through, and your manager is lurking somewhere in the vicinity.

But your phone is face-up on the desk next to you, and the screen is flashing like the sky on Bonfire Night. Your friend Lizzie went on a date last night, and now your WhatsApp group chat (aka ‘LADIES WHO LUNCH’) is blowing up.

“TELL US WHAT HAPPENED *heart eyes emoji* *heart eyes emoji* *heart eyes emoji*,” says Sarah.

“Did he look like his picture??????????” demands Phoebe.

Suddenly Lizzie appears.

“OK, so basically,” she begins – and these three simple words carry such promise of gossip that you can hardly focus on your spreadsheet. 

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"Sorry, give me one sec, I just need to look at this screenshot of my friend's ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend's Facebook profile picture."

In this kind of situation, there has historically only been one responsible option: putting that group chat on mute. But now, a new software update means that you won’t be able to ignore your friends on WhatsApp – even if you’ve tried to silence them.

The new feature allows WhatsApp users to tag people in group chats using the @ symbol before their name, in much the same way you’d tag someone on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. This will then send them a notification, even if they’ve muted the conversation.


Read more: From WhatsApp to Facebook: how technology became the cornerstone of preserving friendships


WhatsApp has also expanded the group chat size from 100 to 256 participants, making the new @ feature essential if you want to make sure a particular person sees your message. (Although, if that’s the case, couldn’t you just drop them a text?)

So there are only two options, really: pick up your phone and give into the gossip, or leave the group chat entirely. Will you choose the path of righteousness, or the path of sin? 


Images: iStock

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