Counterpoint: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People Using iMessage

By Molly Oswaks on at

Nobody enjoys being ignored. It is the worst, most loathsome feeling in the world. And being ignored via text message is the double worst, because your whole body is practically salivating for that familiar chime or buzz alert, and it just. never. comes. It's like the worst, most emotionally fraught, prolonged sneeze. Have I made my point?

All of which is why I have to come out against my colleague and friend Sam Biddle's defense of iMessage's "read receipt" feature. Please no one use this ever. Why not? The reason is simple: unless you plan on responding promptly to every text message from every contact, promptly and without exception, you are basically telling the test sender "Yep, I read that, but fuck if you think you're getting a reply."

Of course there are plenty of reasons why you actually aren't able to respond. And it is why you should keep this feature off. You'll respond when you choose to, and at that point the sender will know there message has been seen and acknowledged.

Go ahead, list the highly specific instances when you would want to know a message has been received but not care to get a reply. My point is: The general texter should generally disable this feature. It is confusing for everyone else and guaranteed to cause resentment amongst all your contacts.