If you’re part of the many Whatsapp users in the world, you would have realised that there was something new in the app today. The usual ticks we see in the corner of your messages have now changed into a glaringly bright blue.
I’ve been dreading this day for a while.
According Whatsapps’ updated FAQ, the new ticks will affect not only personal chats, but also group chats and broadcast messages, when every participant has read your message. There are basically three tick signs:
- One grey tick – the message is successfully sent
- Two grey ticks – the message is successfully delivered to the recipient’s phone
- Two blue ticks – the recipient has read your message
The tech world has anticipated this update from the Facebook-owned app, the same company that has embedded this feature into their other messaging app, Facebook Messenger. In an iconic blue that starkly contrasts the WhatsApp green that we’ve gotten used to, people will now know, very clearly, when we’ve read their messages or not.
The Evils Of The Blue Ticks
While there are those who have been eagerly waiting for this update, there are those who vehemently oppose this change. Several people have openly began to complain about the effects, saying that the update could be damaging to relationships between friends and couples, who are already hanging on the ‘Last Seen’ and ‘Status’ options available in WhatsApp.
“WhatsApp‘s worst implementation is its blue double ticks for read messages,” says Phyllis, a Singaporean and avid Whatsapp user. “Reports said the grey double ticks caused breakups. Trust me, with the blue ones, even more. It’s easier to deal with not knowing why someone isn’t replying than to deal with repeatedly questioning why someone had read your message but refused to reply.”
The reports that Phyllis brings up is a study done by journal CyberPsychology, that has concluded that 28 million couples break up because of WhatsApp and Facebook. This result has been attributed to the aptly named ‘double check syndrome’, where people believe that the double checks actually mean that the recipient has read the message, inciting increases of jealousy, anxiety, and suspicion, when in reality it only meant that the message was received by the recipients’ phone.
That is, until now.
There are a few ways of looking at this situation. Firstly, it’s possible that ignorance is bliss, that by not knowing whether the person has seen or received the message, your relationship will be better. The bare-all nature of social media causes rifts, especially between couples who would rather not have this information. But in the information age, this does not bode well with the forerunners of technology.
Secondly, this feature exposes the flaws of relationships that already occur. To some, this may be a good way to ‘dodge a bullet’. The anxiety and suspicion, according to Amelia Chen, CEO of Singapore couple’s app LoveByte, could be a result of deep-rooted insecurity. This can be countered by open communication.
“I think the basic foundation of a good relationship still has to be trust between couples,” says Chen. “Maybe there’s this thing called ‘texting chemistry’ – couples need to understand each other’s texting style and perhaps with good communication, and it’s not that hard to say “hey i’m busy. ttyl.” That would probably drive less paranoid girls to go nuts while waiting for their partners to reply.”
Ultimately, the sneak attack of this new feature has been a big turn off. The messaging world has always been rife with misunderstandings and subtle complexities since the time of MSN Messenger and ICQ. It’s bad enough ending a ‘haha’ with a fullstop denotes underlying tones of passive-aggression, while a misplaced smiley face could be read as sarcasm. But adding another layer of complexity to an already flawed communication tool may make things worse.
And when I mean worse, I mean it’s nothing compared to a face-to-face conversation in real life.
So, no, I’m not keen on the blue ticks. If anything, I’m hoping WhatsApp will give you an option of removing the ticks completely, like the already available option of removing the ‘Last Seen’ timestamp. It’s made my relationships better. I want to keep it that way.