I do wonder how many people would utilize that. I think part of the problem we’re describing is not just the tools, it’s how people, it’s how we’ve all become these messaging maniacs. You can get frustrated at the way someone’s messaging you, but you must first make amends by owning up to your own problems with messaging.
Michael Calore: Yeah. All of these tools that are around, they don’t really matter because we’re still overusing all of these apps, and we still have that expectation that when we text somebody, they’re going to text right back. If they don’t, it’s rude or it means they’re mad at you, or it means … Pile on whatever meaning you want to assign to it, based on your own social anxiety, but that’s what it is, right? It’s like you expect an immediate return, and if you don’t get it, you start to get anxious.
Lauren Goode: Totally. On iOS, as another example, you can put your phone into Do Not Disturb mode, or what apple now calls Focus Mode, and then when you go to message your friend and initiate a text, you’ll see it’ll say, “Michael has notifications silenced.” I would take that as you’re sleeping, you’re driving, you’re doing something that requires concentration.
But as Justin Santamaria, who I spoke to for this story, pointed out, other people might interpret that as, “Oh, that’s good. I can send the message because they’re not going to be disturbed. It’s not going to come through and interrupt them as they’re driving or whatever it is.” Rather than these things being guardrails, they feel more like squishy orange traffic cones that we just plow through because we see that as malleable, and we can make our own rules around messaging.
Michael Calore: Yeah. We should take a break soon. But first, we have to talk about ellipsis anxiety.
Lauren Goode: Oh my gosh. Dot, dot, dot. Dot, dot, dot. Someone is typing. Several people are typing.
Michael Calore: Simultaneously the best and worst feature ever to come to messaging.
Lauren Goode: Who really started that? Was that Facebook?
Michael Calore: I don’t know. I have to dig pretty deep into the memory banks.
Lauren Goode: Let’s just blame them.
Michael Calore: But yeah, I feel comfortable blaming them. It was either them or Apple. But yeah, somebody else is composing a reply and you see the dot, dot, dot or some sort of notification that they’re typing. In Signal, it’s a little bouncing user icon, right? Then it goes away.
Lauren Goode: Right. Because the person is drafting and then thinking, and then drafting and then thinking, or then drafting and getting distracted and walking away.
Michael Calore: Because somebody else messaged them, and now they’re talking to that person, right?
Lauren Goode: Right.
Michael Calore: Then it just sends you down this rabbit hole. It’s terrible. What would be better, seeing that or just getting an automated message saying, “This person can’t talk right now because they have chosen not to be disturbed?”