What Grinds Our Gears: I’m haunted by group project members ghosting in the chat

If I say your name in the group chat three times, will you suddenly appear?

I sent you a ten-point proposal for our project, please respond. Screenshot: Chris Ho/The Peak

By: Juztin Bello, Copy Editor

It’s the first day of class and you’ve been forced into groups for a semester-long project — great start. You do the classic “none of us want to do this, so we’ll find solidarity in our disdain” round of small-talk with your group members, and decide that conversing over Facebook Messenger will be most productive. Being the keener that you are (purely out of an inherent desire for productivity, mothering, overachievement, and control), you decide to initiate a conversation in the group chat to get some ideas rolling and check in. And what happens to your message?

Seen. Read. Blatantly ignored. Hurled into the abyss — yeeted, if you will.

I get it, life happens. It’s unrealistic to assume that everyone will be available to respond to a message right away. But if you’re unresponsive for days at a time, how do you expect your group to know what you want to do and what your opinions are? 

And don’t get me started on group members who view a message and choose not to respond. If we’re in the midst of discussing group tasks or ideas and someone is just watching and not saying anything, what do you think you’re accomplishing? The great (but shady) thing about Facebook Messenger is it shows you who has seen a message. If you’re just lurking in the chat and choosing not to contribute, we see you.

Just in case you’re brand new, it’s called a group chat for a reason: it’s designed for a group of people to orchestrate a chat. Group chat doesn’t mean “one person asks a question, and only one person responds, despite everyone seeing it.”