WTF, Internet? Read receipts are letting everyone know I’m a horrible person

WTF Internet read receipts

Sometimes I think the Internet was made so we could have yet more ways to embarrass ourselves. Every time I accidentally “reply all,” every time I make a horrible, incorrectable Twitter typo, every time I send a text to the wrong person.

Horrifying.

i message nightmare
Then who is it?!?! And what have they done with mom??!??!

There are infinite ways in which you and I and everyone we know has mistakenly thought the Internet was their friend, only to realize we’re all outing ourselves as big time creeps, weirdos, or in my case, horribly insensitive human beings.

Point in case: Read receipts. You might think they are a simple mechanism, alerting you to what has and hasn’t been read, but no! No I say! They are the most evil method for pressuring you into using technology all the damn time!

Say you log on to Facebook because you are a person with an Internet connection and a mild to serious interest in the lives of your friends and family. You’re perusing the News Feed, you’re liking pictures, you know … you’re doing inventory, taking stock. And then a chat pops up – fine, that’s fine … you don’t have the want or time to respond right now, but maybe later.

But the sender of that chat knows, beyond a doubt, that you read and dismissed their message. You stupid slut – how dare you fully read that text and then just carry on with your life as if you’d never even seen it!?

It gets worse with party invitations or group messages. Have you ever been subjected to the mass message asking for something – anything? “Hey it’s me that friend you’ve seen twice since college, what is up gang?! My soccer team/choir/book club is having a fundraising/bake sale/auction and I wanted to know if anyone wanted to donate something/bring cookies/lend me their pickup?”

friends messages read receipts
I am the worst, as documented by this faux admission I’d just seen this thread … even though my “seeing” was being documented the entire time.

And then it happens: The read receipts roll in. The responses … do not. This is followed by a deafening silence of empty Facebook Message space that makes the inside of me scream so loudly I avoid opening my Messages folder altogether for fear the sender will somehow know, and my lack of friendship and participation will be further recognized. Like Facebook will tell them, “Molly read this five times without responding.”

It can be made worse when each recipient of the message sends a response … except for you. I mean me. It’s always me – I am always that person who, after a week’s worth of back-and-forth between the normal people involved in the chat, is like, “Oh hey just saw this … what’s up everyone …”. But they all know I saw it long, long ago. We all know.

As if I really needed one more way to look like an insensitive asshole. I create plenty of those opportunities all on my own, thanks.­­­­

Being on the other side of the read receipt sadism isn’t fun either. The iMessage nonsense comes to mind. Most iMessage and SMS texts say “delivered” once sent, but sometimes they say “read.” This power is entirely in the recipient’s hands as well – the person you send messages to determines whether you see that “read” and time stamp.  And oh, good lord, there are a plethora of times where our mental states would be much aided by not knowing a text message we sent was read.

read receiptSituation number one: If you’re crushin’ on someone and you said them an ill-advised text. This could be a drunk text, a needy a text, a text meant for someone else about said crush, the borderline-obsessive-third-text-in-a-row-with-no-response text. When any of these occur and you see “Read” pop up, it’s like, let’s all find a mountain ledge to jump from immediately. This becomes a million times worse when it’s not followed by a response for over an hour. Or ever.

Situation number two: When you truly need an answer to a question and your jerkoff friends won’t reply. Oh, they’ll read it … but that’s as far as it goes. And yeah, I’m clearly guilty of this, as referenced in the Facebook bitching portion of this article. But when it happens to me, it’s totally different!

Situation number three: You sent what you think is a hilarious joke, and you’re greeted by nothing but silence. So of course, you send another seven texts to clarify your joke. Just stop though, it’s sad. You’re bumming everybody out, man.

These instances are all enough to make me chuck my phone across the room and hide from it like it’s the drug leading to my undoing. And not a fun, party drug – no, more like heroin, or something you shoot up in a dingy bathroom and then you fall asleep against the door and wake up in a “wha-huh-where am I?!” haze.

I swear I don’t do drugs. I just watch a lot of Breaking Bad and The Wire.

Then there’s also the case in which read receipts just don’t effing work – hey Twitter, what’s up?! I’m looking at your Direct Messaging nonsense. My Twitter iPhone app consistently tells me I have messages – and every time, I hit “mark all as read.” And it won’t. Do. That. It’s infuriating because I get a little thrill (“OH I HAVE A DM I NEVER GET DMs THIS IS EXCITING!”) whenever I open the app. And then my hopes are immediately crushed and I feel like, somewhere, a tiny blue bird is laughing at me. You’re just toying with me, read receipts. In every way the digital world can, I am being teased and humiliated. 

I get that smart, learning, informed technology and apps lead to a better digital experience, but a little mystery would be nice. I would just love if it took people the tiniest bit longer to figure out I’m a huge jerk … and you know, maybe I wouldn’t have self-diagnosed iMessage-induced anxiety disorder. 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Gaming

‘Fallout 76’ may have online multiplayer but it’s still a desolate wasteland

"Is Fallout 76 an MMO?" That depends on who you ask. Critics and players often cite its online multiplayer capabilities as a reason it qualifies. Yet calling the game an MMO only confuses matters, and takes away from what could make…
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Mobile

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.
Smart Home

A.I.’s humorous side: Here are the funniest things to ask Alexa

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant has a wide repertoire of funny responses, jokes, and hidden replies that you can have fun with. Here are the best funny things to ask Alexa and examples of what her responses are.
Mobile

HMD Global shows us how a slice of Android Pie is baked up

Waiting for Android updates can be a real chore -- but it's nothing compared to the work manufacturers have to do. HMD Global has released an infographic showing how Android updates like Android Pie are cooked.
Digital Trends Live

Microsoft has #*!@ed up to-do lists on an epic scale

Microsoft has mucked up to-do lists on a scale you simply can’t imagine, a failure that spans multiple products and teams, like a lil’ bit of salmonella that contaminates the entire output from a factory.
Opinion

As Amazon turns up the volume on streaming, Spotify should shudder

Multiple players are all looking to capitalize on the popularity of streaming, but it has thus far proved nearly impossible to make a profit. Could major tech companies like Amazon be primed for a streaming take-over?
Gaming

Throw out the sandbox. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is a fully realized western world

Despite featuring around 100 story missions, the real destination in Red Dead Redemption 2 is the journey you make for yourself in the Rockstar's open world, and the game is better for it.
Gaming

‘Diablo Immortal’ is just the beginning. Mobile games are the future

Diablo fans were furious about Diablo Immortal, but in truth, mobile games are the future. From Apple and Samsung to Bethesda and Blizzard, we’re seeing a new incentive for games that fit on your phone.
Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Music

Brian Eno sets out to change music (again) with Bloom: 10 World

We always felt that Bloom was a musical system that could be developed further -- it was as if we’d built a CD player and only ever released one CD. For this release, we’ve created ten new worlds, starting with a reimagined version of…
Computing

Can two operating systems coexist? The Pixel Slate thinks so

The Pixel Slate is a 2-in-1 device like no other. It’s not the most polished product we’ve ever used, but Google has laid the foundation for letting mobile and desktop software live side-by-side in peace.
Android

Why commercials in Android Auto could turn your dashboard into a dumpster fire

Google announced some tweaks to the Android Auto experience, focused on making messaging and media easier, but I worry about the future of the platform. For better or worse, there’s a real chance our dashboards could turn into dumpster…
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.