September 13, 2021

read receipts

Read 10:50 PM


Today, I was reading a lil column on one of my favorite people on the internet, Jaboukie Young-White. In the piece, he talks a bit about coded online-speak / generational grammatical etiquette, and eventually gets to *read receipts*:


Once, as a New Year’s resolution, Young-White turned on read receipts, which notify the people you’re texting with when you’ve seen their messages. “The idea was, this will make me more accountable, so I won’t keep forgetting to respond,” he said. Instead, he forgot that the setting was on: when he let a conversation lag, it seemed like a snub. He said, “It was actually Bo”—the comedian Bo Burnham, another connoisseur of the ways in which the Internet is warping human relationships—“who told me my read receipts were on. He went, ‘I assumed it was a power move.’ ”

——The Standup who Doubles as a Digital Emily Post

Ick, seeing read receipts being described as a power move reminded me that I had to turn mine off once and for all. 

Claire and read receipts 

I’ve had read receipts on my messages for as long as I’ve had an iPhone. I thought I was serving some sort of radical transparency: “I saw your message” / “I didn’t see your message”

It also served me when I wanted to communicate to my a-hole BF at the time “I saw your message, I’m choosing not to respond”. But it’s 2021, that wasn’t super healthy, and he’s long gone…(though this is proving Bo’s point around power play)

And a dear friend was recently sharing with me how it didn’t feel great when her partner’s read receipts would show on a message and not follow with a message. He was seeing her message in the moment, why not just respond?? Since practically no one else I message is doing read receipts on their messages, I didn’t really know how it felt one way or another until my friend told me her experience with the other person! I’m the a-hole here 🔘

Many of my friends have told me my read receipts were dumb at some point. And I was clinging to them for absolutely no reason! So guess what, I’ve finally taken em off:

Text me if you don’t believe me! And lmk how it feels at this point and if it’s 
a) an improvement in your life and our correspondence
b) no change
c) weird to not have them anymore bc you were used to it and it was communicating something useful to you 😈