When sophomore Will Riley checked his phone last Tuesday, he was surprised to discover the creation of three independent nation-states while he was gone. It was an unusual practice for Riley, who usually keeps up with the chat, to mute it for 15 minutes.
“It was constantly buzzing, and I had an essay due in a few minutes. I don’t know what got into me, I just felt I really needed to mute it and focus. Looking back, it was a moment of weakness,” he reported to the State-Run. In the quarter of an hour he wasn’t watching the chat, he missed several important events, including revolutions and political discourse, ultimately resulting in the development of three nation-states, each with their own laws, hierarchies, and ambassadors.
Riley let the State-Run know that he was initially shocked to see how much happened in the short time he was away, “but then I thought about it for a minute, and realized that 1000 messages a minute is about par for the course when it comes to that conversation.” And Riley’s report would not be alone. Group chats have moved at increasingly fast rates over the past 10 years, as their average size has increased from four to 13 members.
Dr. Jane Tracy, who has performed extensive research on group chats, commented “It’s a troubling trend in the world of interpersonal communication. Everyone constantly feels a need to be reading every message, fearful that looking up could mean not getting a say in a new Bill of Rights or Magna Carta. In extreme cases, youth not paying attention for a few minutes could even be cut out of citizenship of the new republic they wish to participate in.”
And nation-building isn’t the only thing those who mute the chats miss out on: there’s also scientific research, corporation forming, drama and occasionally, even weekend plans. No matter what you wish to do, watching the group chat 24/7 is more important than ever. Not to mention thinking on your feet to get the most internet hearts for your witty banter.