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Group Text Messaging: Productive or Annoying?

Group Text Messaging: Productive or Annoying?


Trying to make plans with a group of people can be challenging. Obviously, everyone has their own schedule and it can be hard to coordinate a mutually convenient time for all of you to meet up.

Many of us turn to group text messaging as a quicker alternative to group email. However, receiving text messages in a particular thread or conversation with one or a group of people can quite simply be annoying — especially if you keep getting notifications within that thread!

Silence Your Notifications

The good news: It’s possible to silence or turn off notifications within that thread and still receive notifications for all of your other text messages.

On an iOS platform, for example, you can go into your messages app, slide the group message (or any text message) to the left, and hit “hide alerts.” If people send more messages in that thread, you won’t get notified and your phone won’t make a sound or pop up a little summary of the message. You will still receive other messages, however.

To be clear, this doesn’t block the thread.

Anytime you go into the messages app, they will all be there. This is just meant to stop notifications so you’re not bothered by them. I find this very helpful for group threads in particular — especially when they involve three or more people.

Exercise Some Control

Here’s a scenario from my personal experience: When I’m trying to schedule dinner with five people and messages are being sent back and forth about unrelated topics, I will often hide alerts or silence notifications from that thread once the dinner has been scheduled. This way, my phone doesn’t beep every time someone posts an emoji or says one word.

To catch up on all these messages, I set time aside once a day so I can scroll through the ones I’ve missed without interruptions or distractions from my phone.

You can think of this like a targeted version of Do Not Disturb — you can turn it back on when you don’t mind getting these notifications and are ready to engage.

This is the kind of feature that gives you significant power over when, how, and by whom you are interrupted. It also helps you exercise some conscious control over who gets to grab your attention and why.
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