As if it wasn’t hard enough to date in the twenty-first century, we also need to date under the watchful eyes of the internet. There are a number of specific elements that make this process even more unsavory: you can’t hide anything you do without leaving some sort of mark in the shape of a little check mark, heart or thumbs up.
For those of you who aren’t sure what a read receipt is, it is that devastating check mark or time stamp that lets you know that yes, they did indeed not only receive your message, but they have read it. The various statuses of this message delivery system (sent, delivered, and read) can let you know precisely just how long you are being ignored. I’m not sure who would ever elect to leave their read receipts on, especially since on an iPhone you have the option of turning them off, but there are a number of apps and other means of messaging where read receipts are forced upon you whether you like it or not (Facebook being the number one example of this). Why is this a necessary function?! Why does someone, somewhere feel the need to impose this very stressful cardinal decision on us: to read, or not to read. However, I can’t decide which is more irritating: someone reading your message and not responding, or giving you the dreaded one-word answer. Maybe texting should be rendered illegal in all relationships, as it is clearly detrimental to all of our psyches.
The Dreaded Accidental Double-Tap:
I myself do not have Instagram, but whenever I’m navigating someone else’s account on their phones, they instruct me to be careful not to double-tap any photos. When I first heard the phrase “the accidental double-tap” I assumed it was some sort of weird sex thing I didn’t want any part of. Once I realized what it in fact was, I immediately understood the severity of the situation. Similar to the process of accidentally “liking” something of yesteryear, the new tell tale sign of shameless lurking is unintentionally leaving a trail of “likes”, or “favourites”, which is basically an enormous sign that says “Yes, I was in fact looking at pictures of you from 2005”. One slip of the finger, and suddenly you’re arbitrarily also approving of the fact that this person “Just got home from the gym LOL” so as to make it seem like you are slightly less of a creep. Only slightly.
“In a Relationship With ___”:
This element of Facebook wasn’t designed with the intention of ruining lives, I’m sure. And for most couples, this is a subtle yet lovely way to show their 435 friends that they have something (and someone) to do on a Saturday night. However, there are a few types of couples where the relationship status function is the equivalent to a gossipy aunt. One type of couple that this function is unhelpful to is the are-they-or-aren’t-they couple that everyone has on their list. These two break up and get back together every other week, and luckily you’re privy to this information because the most powerful way to demonstrate their love/hate for each other is to have, or not have, the other’s name on their page.
Another couple who are foiled by the benign nature of the relationship status is the technologically challenged/absent couple. These two start dating, yet one of them doesn’t go online enough to notice that they are set to single, leaving their partner with an awkwardly pending “In a Relationship” moniker, as opposed to the desired “In a Relationship With”. Not helpful.
The Three-Dot Bubble, and Other Typing Indicators:
Nothing is more exciting than texting the object of your desire, and instantly receiving an indication that this person is responding. Unless, of course, said indicator vanishes without the satisfaction of a response. Then you’re left thinking maybe one of our phones is malfunctioning! Maybe they’ve responded, but I haven’t received it, and now they thinkI’m ignoring them! Maybe they’re one of those sadistic sub-humans who write an entire text and forget to press send! Or maybe they accidentally hit a letter or two in the text box, and now I’m left feeling clinically insane. If I see that little three-dot bubble, I expect a text, dammit!
Basically, technology isn’t doing us any favours, despite our thoughts to the contrary. Technology is essentially just your tattletale little sister who decides to rat you out for reading your girlfriend’s message and not caring that she just ate 13 pieces of sushi, or for lurking your ex’s tagged photos until 3am after drinking 6 glasses of wine. I’d like to minimize the extent to which the people in my life are aware of my all-seeing all-knowing online presence, thank you very much!