Oh, WeChat. We love you…you help us stay close to friends near and far, help build community, plan parties, and connect us to people with similar niche interests that we probably wouldn’t meet otherwise (waving at you my Chardonnay-Loving Garden-Composting group friends!).
Shanghai Mamas groups have always been known for their warm, welcoming, and supportive tone. Since the early days of our Yahoo group in 2006, we have sought to treat everyone with respect and consideration even when their viewpoints don’t align. Thankfully some things never change!
While we think WeChat is pretty great, we do have some suggestions for how to make the most of the platform for yourself and your fellow group-members. The Shanghai Mamas team, in collaboration with many members of the community, have come up with some basic WeChat etiquette for our ShMamas groups.
Do read and follow group notice/rules for every group you belong. You can’t assume that what is acceptable in one group carries over for similar groups. Read and respect the group rules for each individual community since they are their own ecosystems…and read the group notices again when the moderator makes changes. You don’t want to miss anything.
Do share the group rules and remind any users you are inviting to a group that they will need to follow them carefully. In the ShMamas groups, the inviting user is responsible for the users they invite into the groups and risk removal from the group if the new member joins for malicious intent. You definitely don’t want to be the one who accidently invited the stalking spammer to the group!
Do an internet search before asking a common question in a group. Wondering about the address of The Camel? Smart Shanghai has a great listing for those type of questions that won’t involve several hundred people reading your message.
Do switch to private messages if your exchange with another group member is dominating the group conversation. We polled several people and they felt like 6-8 direct interactions was a good cut-off before taking it to PM.
If you are new to a group, it’s not possible to search the chat history before you joined. We understand that you’ll have to ask questions that may have been discussed prior to your arrival. It’s ok, go ahead and ask. If you have been in the group for some time and remember reading something from the conversation, give a search before asking again. The search box is in the Group menu (look for the three dots in the top right corner). You can search via keyword, group member, date, or file/media and it really makes WeChat organization much more effective when you can find the info you need. While we’re talking about organization, you can make things easier on yourself my tagging/annotating contacts as you add them, so you remember how you know them later.
Don’t post pics of other people’s children unless you have permission. This includes strangers, friends, classmates, teammates, and anyone under 18. This is not only courtesy, but also the law.
Don’t add another member of the group without seeking their permission in the group first or without clearly stating a reason in the friend intro. Randomly adding other users to boost your contacts for marketing purposes isn’t tolerated and will quickly get you removed from a ShMamas group. If someone adds you for those reasons, please report to a moderator.
Don’t post porn. This really goes without saying, but sometimes it still needs to be said. Those stickers that are kinda edgy to one user can be very offensive to other users. If it could be questionable, don’t post in WeChat since it puts the group owner at risk.
Don’t talk about sensitive subjects in groups (aka VPN conversations aren’t for WeChat). If you need to know, best to ask your friends face to face.
Something to Remember
We’ve had many complaints about other users who send many short single word messages to the group instead of composing sentences “Form an entire thought and think it through before sharing fragments” was the feedback from a ShMamas group member.
Be careful with emojis since they can mean different things to different people. For example, some people think this smiley [Smile]is cute and funny…others see this one as passive aggressive [Smile]. You can find yourself cringing [Smug], blushing [Blush], and irked [Speechless] quickly on WeChat since easy to mis-read the signals, especially in cross-cultural situations.