What’s In Your GroupMe?

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What’s In Your GroupMe?

The Independent explores the abyssal depths of everybody’s least favorite app 

By MICHAEL KIELSTRA, JEN EASON, and MARISSA GARCIA

Upon arriving on campus for your first semester, you’ll quickly learn that GroupMe is as required as the meal-plan. You may have toyed around with toggling off notifications, but let’s be real—as soon as you mute any chat, you run the risk of any group member calling you out on it. (Which, come to think of it, may come in the form of a GroupMe message you won’t get notified about.). It’s the necessary evil of on-campus organizations: not everyone concedes their privacy to Facebook, and iMessage group chats seem feasible until that one eventually chimes they don’t have an iPhone. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as GroupMe may now serve as our only remaining thread to campus life. Befitting the times, we at the Independent dusted off various chats in our GroupMe inboxes and, inevitably, knew we had to report on it. Here’s what we found. 

Michael Kielstra

I am that most awful person, the guy who uses GroupMe to actually text other people one-on-one. (This drives my roommate nuts.) Most of what’s down at the bottom of my GroupMe, then, is conversations with people who have long since moved on. Probably the most memorable is the woman to whom I said I would give a selfie stick that I had received as part of a hackathon swag bag and did not want; she promised several times that she would come and get it, stood me up every time, and eventually did not reply when I said I would be giving it to someone else.

Moving on to actual groups, there’s the Hope Fellowship Church Harvard undergraduate group chat. Nobody ever posts in this, but, for some reason, we still add every new undergraduate who comes to church. Come to think of it, I have a worrying number of groups in which nobody ever posts. There’s the chat I set up for myself and my suitemates, the last message of which is from October 2 and tells us that we no longer need to worry about toilet paper because Larry stole some from Winthrop. (Oh, to return to the time when toilet paper was no longer the currency of the apocalypse.) There’s the chat for my first-year entryway, which used to be fairly active but now, in a total reversal of Harvard’s claims about first-year entryway-mates, is dead. There’s a D&D group that never got off the ground. If you ever think your friends don’t want to talk to you, look at my GroupMe. Mine want to talk to me less than yours want to talk to you.

Most of my active group chats are clubs and societies. There are multiple Independent chats, multiple Satire V chats, and multiple Harvard College Faith and Action chats. Ranking these in order of fun is left to the reader. And then I have the group chat for students who are still on campus after the early move-out. I’m not currently on campus, but I lurk there, in the shadows, hoping one of them will say something newsworthy. So far there has been a little bit of confusion over where people get their mail.

I also have a conversation from my first year, consisting only of the unanswered question “Is the last brownie gone?”

Michael Kielstra ’22 (pmkielstra@college.harvard.edu) never did get that brownie.

Jen Eason

Noteables. 99% of my GroupMe is Noteables. If you don’t know what the Noteables are, you’ve probably never read anything else I’ve written because I manage to talk about them a lot. For those who don’t know, the Noteables is a non-audition Broadway show choir of which I am the current president. GroupMe is our main way of communication, even though we all complain about it and there’s always someone who has their notifications off. We have a chat for alumni, current members, creative board, executive board, every single number I’ve ever been in, and, my favorite: WHERE TF ARE YOU. You are only added to this chat if you show up late for our show’s call time and we can’t find you. It’s a shame chat. There’s also a failed Notea-Avalon chat. It’s kind of like the game Mafia, but we tried to do it over chat. It didn’t work.

The only other active ones are the Independent, of course, Queer Harvard Thunderdome, and my creative writing class for this semester. When I scraped down toward the bottom, I found my freshmen entryway. It actually is occasionally active because I was one of the 28 kids in my class that got put in DeWolfe instead of a normal freshman house. The housing was great. The walk to Annenberg was not. We bonded over our struggles. And in the subterranean basement, there is a chat I made for my graduating high school class of 14. I’d asked them if they wanted to hang out at all over the summer before we went off to college. No responses. But that’s GroupMe for ya’. 

Jen Eason (jeason@college.harvard.edu) never did hang out with her class that summer. 

Illustration by Lucy Hamilton ’21 (lucyhamilton@college.harvard.edu).