WhatsApp's New Feature Is Better Than You Think

Thanks to its latest update, Android and iOS users of the popular messaging app WhatsApp now have the ability to tag people in WhatsApp group chats. That's right: Even if people have muted the chats, they will still receive notifications if they've been tagged in a specific message. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on how you feel about group chats in general; for example, I'm sure that many are now thinking, "Seriously? That's it. I'm quitting WhatsApp." But hear me out: I don't think this new feature is actually going to lead to more headaches. In fact, it might even be more useful than you think.

While group chats are a great way to keep in touch with friends across the globe, they can also be a total time suck — not to mention the fact getting constant notifications every few seconds can make you feel like hurling your phone across the room. That's why many of us opt to mute those conversations instead. Right now, WhatsApp allows you to mute conversations for eight hours, a week or even a year. This is especially handy with large group chats that never seem to end. So I understand the worry that this new tagging feature might render the muting option useless.

However, WhatsApp reportedly came out with this feature in the hopes that it will make group chats more efficient. If they've been tagged, people who muted a group chat can still review the messages that are relevant and addressed to them — and if you think about it, that's actually a pretty smart idea. Say I'm in a group chat with several good friends, but sometimes they make inside jokes or talk about movies that I don't really know much about. I'd love to be able to silence those conversations and then only get a ding! if someone actually directs their message at me. It's nice to know that's possible now with the new WhatsApp update.

It's also worth noting that this feature is only available for group chats, not one-on-one chats, so it's not like your ex can harass you by tagging you relentlessly in an old message conversation. And anyway, the chances that someone in a group chat would actually take the time to tag individual usernames just to be annoying seems...well, pretty slim, especially if your WhatsApp friends are decent people in general. Worst case scenario, you could just leave a chat if you really wanted to. If you were already muting notifications for a group chat, perhaps it wasn't that important to begin with anyway.

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