Leave Me on “Seen”

I remember when Facebook first introduced the feature which would tell people when somebody had opened the messages they had sent them. I always wondered why. I thought to myself that, not only would it be bad for those who suffer from anxiety and fear that their friends are annoyed by their messages, but it puts pressure on people to reply quickly in order to avoid upsetting their friends and making them feel like they don’t care. When speaking to a friend recently, they suggested that it might have been introduced in order to increase the chances people would reply and therefore spend more time in their Messenger app (or on the Facebook website) where they could then be exposed to more advertisements. I’m sure she hit the nail on the head. It’s a subject I wrote about a couple of years ago.

Today, following the global pandemic, life sure has changed. Most significantly, I would say, the pace of things has slowed down a lot. I lost my job due to redundancy a few months ago, but even before that life was a slower pace. Other than working, I’d not do anything else in the day and the thought of doing more was tiring – a stark contrast to the days when I’d go out, visit people and do lots of things after going to work (and in the actual office, rather than from home).

What does that have to do with anything? Well, I find it even harder to keep on top of my messages than I ever did before. It’s to the point where I also expect other people to reply in an equally timely manner. I can remember when one of my messages being “seen” but a reply not sent felt like a bad thing. These days, I’d say it actually feels like a slight positive. If they read it right away, that means they were so excited to see my message they wanted to read it right away – of course, the reply can come days or weeks later, but being “seen” feels good. It’s nice how a former negative has become a current positive (if only a mild one).

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