Group Chats Are Making the Internet Fun Again

nymag.com

The triumphant return of aimless digital chatter group chats on the internet using WhatsApp, Slack, Twitter, AIM, iMessage, and more.

As feeds grew hostile, though, the rise of the smartphone, with its full-screen keyboard and its array of free messaging options, gave us a new, context-specific, decentralized social network: the group chat. Over the last few years, I and most of the people I know have slowly attempted to extricate our social lives from Facebook. Now it’s the group chat that structures and enables my social life. I learn personal news about friends from group chats more often than I do on Facebook; I see more photos of my friends through group chats than I do on Instagram; I have better and less self-conscious conversations in group chats than I do on Twitter. I’m not alone: The Avengers are in a group chat; the actresses of Big Little Lies are in a group chat; Beyoncé is in a group chat with her mother and Solange. (Jay-Z was apparently not invited.) Group chats have become so fundamental to daily life, in some cases, that they are the first place people turn for help: During the shooting at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, on May 7, BuzzFeed News reported that students took to group chats to share moment-to-moment updates.

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