Here’s to the group chat. That magnificent, oh-so-essential part of college life. Here’s to the GroupMe app, which almost all of us seem to universally have. Here’s to the floor group chat, where events are promoted and assistance is requested. Here’s to the floor group chat without the RA, where memes are spammed and arguments are settled. Here’s to that group chat that’s just you and five friends, and here’s to that group chat where you only know two out of a hundred people.

The group chat is, in my opinion, the single greatest gift of the social media sphere. It bridges the gap between the private message and the public social media post – do you only want to share a specific thing with one group? No problem! Just put it in that group chat. Do you want to advertise your RSO’s event to everybody you know? It might be a bit much, but spam that message to every relevant GroupMe you’re in. I love group chats because each one has a pre-appointed purpose that everyone understands. Even if you’re in three or four different chats with the same person, there’s an appropriate reason to message them in each one, versus directly messaging them. And, even if we don’t consciously recognize it, we all know the reasons and we all divide our lives up into these groups.

And, really, they are part of our lives. I know that specifically, for me, my friend group chat is one of my favorite places to be online. It offers me a warm, safe community where I personally know everybody, and everybody knows each other. We’re able to be one another’s shoulder to lean on, wingman, and everything in between – all you’ve got to do is send a message in there, and one of my close friends will be on call. We gossip, have inside jokes, give each other nicknames, and change the title of the chat almost too frequently – it’s a fun space, and I love it.

However, it is not only just friends that benefit from our use of group chats in college life – as someone who is involved with leadership for multiple different and amazing registered student organizations, I know the group chat also has great professional potential. While e-mails are usually best for formal, official, necessary-to-save communications, if there’s something simple that needs to be done within your organization it’s often easy to send a message in the group chat, tag the person or persons who are relevant, and kick back, knowing your info has been successfully delivered.

I’d like to say that I don’t know how people used to function back in the days where GroupMe didn’t exist and the group chat wasn’t as popular. Maybe they used listservs, or delivered messages en-masse via carrier pigeon. But I know, deep down in my heart, that that isn’t true. Just because group chats weren’t around previously doesn’t mean people communicated any less effectively – while they may seem like an invaluable godsend, people have gotten along just fine without them for millennia. But, while they’re around and useful, let’s celebrate them. So, here’s to the group chat – and all the wonderful people I know in each and every one.

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