Based on my own and other’s experiences, I have been examining six different admin models as I decide which one to emulate.
1: Digital Dictators
These are power-hungry admins. No-one elected them, but everyone fears them.
They run the group like a fiefdom. Any attempt to introduce a subject or point of view that does not glorify their ego is tackled viciously.
They will not let anyone leave the group.
If you try, you’re added straight back! I call this house arrest.
A West African friend told me how a digital dictator of his group was accidentally relieved of her admin powers when she lost her phone.
She pleaded with the interim admin to readmit her on a new telephone line.
As soon as she assumed her executive WhatsApp powers, she instantly ejected the acting admin from the group.
It took the intervention of a senior military officer who is a silent member of the group to plead for the poor member to be readmitted
2: Echo Makers
These are admins who love the sound of their own voice.
They’re often found in small WhatsApp groups with only a handful of members.
A man stands in front of a shop window displaying mobile phones on 1 October 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.Image copyrightAFP
I belong to one such group that was created for a training exercise after which most members left.
But the admin can be heard every few moments bellowing down the Whatsapp corridor: “Good morning happy people! Just to wish you a happy day!”
But there’s no response. There’s no-one here.
All you hear is the sound of the admin’s voice echoing back and forth with one triviality after another.
3: Mafia Managers
These are not really admins. But they are the power behind the power.
They broker relationships in the group; they determine who belongs and who doesn’t.
When their interests are threatened, they step in stealthily and take charge with sharp knives in the form of a subtle post here and a sharp hint there that leaves no doubt as to which direction things must go.
4: Rebel Rulers
These are admins who forget they are the leader.
People walk while speaking on the phone on 1 October 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.Image copyrightAFP
They’ll be the first to post disturbing images, stir up rebellions amongst sleepy members and be the life of the party.
They crossed from street activism to “state house” but forgot to leave their placards behind.
5: People Pleasers
These are the opposite of “Digital Dictators”. They embrace the world.
They have a laissez-faire approach to the office of the WhatsApp administrator.
Which means the group is often noisy and chaotic; no-one is in charge and rules are not enforced.
As a result, their powers are usurped by scores of aspiring admins.
6: Grammar Grabbers
These are misplaced teachers. They relish posts that come with spelling or grammatical mistakes.
They will grab such offenders and take them back to pre-school by the ear.
Woe unto you if you cannot tame the spelling abilities of your smartphone.
They are also the moral detectives of the group and any content that threatens the minds of grown-ups is seized upon with speed.
A colleague, who is newly married, once sent a rather explicit message of the plans he had for his wife after his birthday dinner.
But he got his contacts mixed up and the message, intended for the wife, went to his mother-in-law.
Such misposting is Christmas dinner for grammar grabbers!
Adapted from Joseph Warungu’s ‘Letters For Africa’ for BBC Africa