Please just stop talking to me.

Networking is something that every website, phone app and job expo is constantly throwing at us, and its something that we are constantly doing with our friends anyway. Google+ has its weird little circle things that I still don’t understand, Facebook has groups, pages and many other tools to help your group your friends based on activities or interests and MySpace really just wants you to do anything on its website. This networking can now be done in a second and across the world thanks to the World Wide Web that we take for granted today.

Every day, we use this technology and rely on it to communicate with everyone around us, and even with people right next to us – If you’ve never messaged someone on Facebook about the class you’re currently sitting with them in you are either lying, over 23. It’s this kind of instant and sometimes really not required communication that I personally believe has lead to what I see as a never-ending conversation.

Read Receipt on iOS.

Read Receipt on iOS.

Our texts, Facebook messages and posts online more often than not allow you to see when your message has been “seen” by the other party/parties and this almost obsessive need to know if what you’ve said has been read I think exacerbates peoples already current fears of being ignored. The “seen” feature often in my experience leads to people simply not opening their messages, essentially pausing conversation mid-topic because it would be too much hassle to deal with it in that moment.This “seen” nature of conversation, paired with apparent need for social networks to tell us when people are online means people often expect an instant response.

 

"Active Now" as displayed on Facebook Messenger

“Active Now” as displayed on Facebook Messenger

These factors I believe are why we are constantly stuck in a never-ending conversation – so many people and so many different things to say, and often these conversations are happening all at once – a far cry from not so long ago when we relied upon face-to-face communication and letters. It’ll be interesting see where online communication heads next – personally, I hope it involves me never seeing “seen” again.

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15 comments

  1. Good read Jacob. Very good points on the “seen” feature of messenger apps and the nature of users now expecting an instant response, would love to see that function disappear or at least some control over it in the future.

  2. You’ve identified my no.1 problem with Facebook, that most of it is really not required communication but people treat it like its an outrage if you don’t instantly reply.

    Im guilty of of receiving a message on Facebook and deliberately not opening it just so it doesn’t get the ‘seen’ because i’m not really in mood to talk to ‘person x’.

    Also i have found that soon as i installed ‘Facebook messenger’ on my phone have always been online as long as my phone was on even when i wasn’t in the app is this a common thing?

  3. Hey Jacob! I didn’t know wether to post a reply to your great DIGC202 blog seeing as it is titled “please just stop talking to me”. I really enjoyed your post and could relate to the “never ending conversation” you refer to. I like that you picked up on the idea of always-on communication that can make us sick of talking to one another! The lecture introduced the telegraph and its progression to our network today, but didn’t really talk about what it did to our relationships and expecting a response for something. I remember some advice I was given not too long ago, to never trust a friend who is always on their phone, but never replies to your messages!
    Your post also made me think of this article – http://www.imore.com/imessage-read-receipts-little-bit-heaven-or-lot-hell – about read receipts. I liked your post. Could you see that I had read it?
    Cheers,
    Georgie
    oncewerewild.wordpress.com

    1. I have a hunch that sometimes I’m that friend… oops. Better work on that.
      That article is exactly the kind of reference I was looking for! Thanks for reading.

  4. Do you think by having these phone apps is a good thing while we are no longer communicating face to face?

  5. The “seen” feature reminds me of the concept of ‘latent ambiguity’ spoken about in the Lessig (2006) reading.

    He speaks about the difference between cyberspace and real, physical space. He uses the example of a worm search invading the privacy of our personal computers to check for illegal content. If there is no illegal content, the worm deletes itself and there is no harm done (seemingly). But if this search was done in real space there would be questions around the cost, the burden to the individual and the insecurity experienced by the person being searched.

    To relate this to “seen” messages – would we allow someone to come into our home and check whether we have opened the mail from the mailbox? It’s interesting that it is accepted in cyberspace, when it would not be acceptable in real space.

    1. I think that’s kind of how I feel – Just leave me alone and stay out of my business Facebook!

  6. Great blog post. I really liked your point on social media being a constant conversation. It feels as though you can no longer go online without being “seen”. Because of this feature, I prefer to use my iPhone than Facebook messenger because I can turn the “read receipts” option off.

  7. Nice blog post, really hits home with the Facebook messaging ‘seen’ feature. I know all too well when you want to put a conversation on pause but have the guilt of leaving them with a reminder of that painful word ‘Seen’.
    Sometimes I wish we could change Facebook messaging system to disregard whether a person is online or offline and allow us to reply and write messages at our own pace.
    We’ll have to wait and see.

  8. Great blog post! I feel the same with the “seen” features and I think it may be a threat to relationships too 😦

  9. Awesome blog post! That’s also another thing I don’t like about Facebook, just because you’ve “seen” it doesn’t mean you can reply to a message then and there. It’s a little worrying where Facebook could be heading next if it’s already starting to control when and where we see messages. Another thing is forgetting to turn off my location so when you send a message that person knows where you are!

  10. Great post! I loves that you’re posting your link on twitter, it makes you very easy to find! In regards to the FB messaging system, I’ve recently been trialling moving to the new messenger app and have noticed some crazy backlash in regards to the new system. It is interesting to note that all conversations blend in to one, just like you mentioned they are a never ending conversation. I also started to have messages emailed to me, so I could read them before I ‘see’ them officially.

  11. A really interesting post and extremely relevant!! As you have mentioned, this platform of social media has become increasingly popular as a means of communication. Mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram draws us to participate in the cycle of virtual interaction, encouraging the user to blog, comment and upload images for the purpose of self gratification. We become obsessed with the idea of ‘ likes’ in order to satisfy our desire of public recognition. I agree with your comment on the idea of ‘seen’ (Facebook )as a negative component. Being so immerse in the superficial nature of this platform poses problems, as it becomes a reality for many, essentially a second life (Lessig, 2006). This element of ‘seen’ is both intrusive for the sender and responder as you’ve suggested; ” active now” likewise calls for the expectation of a response. It’s truly frightening now easily we rely on technology as a means of communicating; we fall into this cycle where the only interaction we have is online.

  12. Great insight into this issue! We all rely far too much on being able to communicate instantaneously, and receive some sort of feedback – maybe that’s part of the ‘network’ – that someone gives or ‘sends’ us something, and we receive it, making the network complete. In this way it is like encoding and decoding. I think this is why we have this urge to know when someone opens our messages, or reads the Facebook inbox we sent – it completes the network cycle and validates our contributions.

  13. You really sum up your post really well. I like how you make the connection that we are in a never ending conversation because it is extremely true. We have indeed come a long way from face-to-face conversations yet it is so easy to get lost in what is easy. And I hope I never have to “see” you again.

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