Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whatsapp and Anonymity

Till a few days ago, I thought I could read messages on Whatsapp 'Anonymously', meaning no one would know I have read the message.  However, this assumption was proven too to my utter surprise and mortification.

Many a time, given the deluge of messages that pile up on some groups, keeping up is a difficult task.  We have often spoken about how reading 200-300 messages causes another 200 to pile up and then, one gives up.  Also, by the time you catch the thread and try to respond, time has flown by as has the conversation.  Sometimes, my husband and I help each other out.  When one is driving, the other reads out the messages so that we are in touch with the group.  While in some a response goes back, in other cases, we wouldn't have even got halfway through messages by the time the destination is reached.   Such is our case.

The other day, over dinner with friends, one revealed that you can find out who has read your messages and who has not.  Thankfully, no one else in the group knew about the feature.  We, minimal whatsapp users, of course did not know about it.  The revelation surprised everyone to say the least.

Click on the message you have posted, and on the top bar appears an 'i' symbol (information).  It lists who the message has been delivered to and who has read it.  

Out of the dinner and back in the car, the first thing we did was to check the feature.  And us being us, tested it out.  My acquisition of a smart phone is only ten days old and we put the 'i' feature to test.  In the case of whatsapp, the information provided is generic.  I just have to open and scroll a bit, and it will say the messages have been read even though I may not gone back so much in time.  Even if I scroll back randomly, it will say that I have read the messages.  Which may not be true, as all of us know.  Whatsapp is thus putting us groupizens in  serious trouble.  Or is it their way of forcing groupizens to use Whatsapp and keep it going ?  

Seriously, now you just can't read messages.  You are forced to read and reply, especially in high energy and highly prolific groups.  The expectation is that if you read a message, you better reply or at the least acknowledge.  So much pressure.

I for one would like to go back to snail mail.  One has the liberty of holding a letter, procrastinating, ruminating and letting the message sink in before replying, maybe the same day, the next or a month later.  Good old days.... No one writes a letter the old way nowadays, and I for one keep waiting.  The only ones I receive are rare, from my dad where he sends one liners and these, I treasure.  

No comments: