Orna Raz

Day 35 Of The War: Help! I Am Flooded — No More WhatsApp

The hostages are always with us (image courtesy of author)
The hostages are always with us (image courtesy of author)

In Israel WhatsApp is the most powerful social media tool, and for good reason. It offers various options for staying in touch. Besides regular chat, you can engage in voice calls, conference calls, video calls, and all of it is free. Furthermore, it provides the possibility of being part of groups, including regular ones for family, friends, colleagues, and quiet groups in which the admins share information in areas you’d choose to stay updated on.

During the 10 months of protest against the government’s judicial overhaul prior to the war, I was part of several activist groups, like the Black Flags, The Academia Struggle, and even one group, “The Struggle Update.”  This group collected the most important information from all the headquarters of the protest. Now, in wartime, I am especially thankful to these protest groups, they have played a crucial role in creating and maintaining a strong civil society.

While the large protest groups keep us informed with important updates, many members incessantly forward texts, videos, and links to everyone in their personal mailing lists. It makes me feel flooded and anxious. I understand the desire to educate friends and keep them updated on everything new. I also acknowledge that there is pressure on members in large groups to keep forwarding and sharing important information. However, receiving the same video 15 times from different sources is unpleasant at best.In principle, I prefer not to forward information on WhatsApp. In the rare cases that I do, I send it with a personal note to the recipient. However, I do share interesting information on my personal Facebook because it tends to be less obtrusive. Regrettably, even on Facebook, some of my friends can’t resist forwarding the same familiar material through messenger.

I try not to express my frustration to friends and acquaintances who keep sending me those unwarranted messages because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. However, drowning in a sea of information and circulating the same stuff within our circles leads us nowhere. I believe that instead of recycling old messages, it would be more beneficial if people expressed their thoughts and feelings, either by keeping a journal (which could also be a public post on Facebook or a blog) or by sharing them with close family members and friends.

In these extremely hard times, the overflow of excessive and repetitive information only adds to the stress and anxiety many of us are experiencing. We can’t  afford that, as we need our strength and energy to ensure the safe return of our hostages in Gaza.

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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