Early last year our world become suddenly even more reliant on the digital connectivity we’ve taken for granted over the last few decades.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant we were all looking for ways to maintain our connections while staying socially distanced.
The instant messenger app WhatsApp saw a huge increase in daily users right from the beginning of the pandemic.
One report stated they had seen a massive 40% increase in traffic as early as March 2020, just as the lockdown was starting.
It’s easy to see why, with the ability to text or phone anyone completely for free if you have an internet connection.
But perhaps one of the biggest selling points was the ability to create groups.
Putting your family, friends and fellow students into dedicated chats makes it easier for you all to stay connected in a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago.
So, what makes a great WhatsApp group? And how can you use the app to benefit your student experience both academically and socially?
Keep to the rules
Number one, when you’re running any social chat, is to make sure everyone knows and follows the rules.
There’s little more annoying than creating a study group for your BA (Hons) Events and Entertainment Management course then finding it turn into a place to share the latest memes.
Make sure you remind the people in the chat of the rules regularly (but be nice about it!)
You could even go so far as to post the names and contacts of the people running the group if it’s very large.
Know your emojis
Something you might find useful from time to time is posting important information like reminders of assignment deadlines or whether your group will be attending on-site lectures that week.
When you need what you’re writing to stand out from the rest of the chat, try adding an emoji like the warning light or pointing finger to draw attention to you.
It will help people spot the information they need to know, even if they’re just skimming through.
Another way of organising your WhatsApp group is to put down specific times when the chat will be active.
You could, for example, set an hour aside after each lecture to discuss what was spoken about.
This doesn’t mean people can’t use the group outside of that hour. But it gives everyone a time of their day they know to post their questions and look for answers.
Keep it light
WhatsApp does not, by any means, have to be used only as a serious tool for studying.
It’s important to remember that the chats which are over organised, with tough moderators tend to not be places people want to go.
Make sure you’re showing off the best of the University of Sunderland in London community.
Share jokes, be supportive and you’ll find you’re getting loads out of it.
We’d love to hear about your study WhatsApp groups. Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.