Read Receipts – What Are They Good For?


The anxiety hits as you await a response, knowing they have looked and read your message. The frustration becomes overwhelming. You’re still waiting for a response. Four hours later, you check and find they were online 8 minutes ago – are they purposely ignoring you?

In case you’re not sure, read receipts are the notifications which show when a recipient has opened and read the message you’ve sent. Apple first introduced them in 2011, with Facebook Messenger following suit not too long after that. iMessenger and Facebook are just two examples of apps on my phone which allow me to know when people have opened my message, including the exact time. Has anyone ever found them to be useful though?

Your manager becomes aggravated at the lack of response asking for availability. You become frustrated when attempting to make plans with slow responders. In these cases, read receipts remove a certain form of privacy, insisting we must be available at all times. Apple, however, offer the option to disable read receipts. This must signify people either find them useful or simply are not aware of the option to remove them.

Despite obvious disadvantages they do offer some benefits, including, but not limited to the freedom of being able to quickly send a text to check if someone is safe, and knowing that they are through receipt of the message, even if they can’t reply immediately.  Alternatively, Messenger notifying people of when you were last online allows others to quickly know if you’re actually awake and alive, which can be useful if you’re like me and sleep in until 2pm on a regular basis, leaving your flatmate wondering if maybe you’ve possibly died in your sleep.

The rise in using social media platforms to quickly communicate with others has left some feeling sour in response to what is now expected of everyone using apps such as Facebook Messenger. However, these apps remain popular, leaving people needing to actively engage with them to ensure that connecting with others is still possible.

[Courtney Hughes – @iliveonwifi]

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