Is instant mobile messaging worth the trouble?

Depending on the type of relationship you have, delayed response to a message can take its toll on your psyche.

Mariam Gabaji July 29, 2013

WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, BBM and Skype have all pervaded our mobile home screens because owning a smartphone is the most recent trend set by our generation. It has almost replaced the SMS service, which is only used when circumstances require it. Text messages are now outdated.

I questioned people about this service and here is what I gathered: the instant messaging phenomenon has created a plethora of issues. Squabbles and awkward and fake relations among mobile users are now quite common. The idea of this inquiry wasn’t to question the convenience offered by the instant messaging service while communicating, but to instead highlight the somewhat damaging impact that comes along with it. This could either be the predicament of how to end a conversation or the constant pondering over why your message has been seen but not responded to.

The responses I got — none of them shocking — were unanimous. If you go back to your instant messaging conversations, they will undoubtedly consist of an abundant amount of ‘hahas’ with no important matter in between. Similarly, the use of emoticons is extremely common when people aren’t sure of how to continue the conversation or how to respond to something another person has brought up. We have become more connected to people, who may not have mattered in the past. The habit of creating an affinity with people we may not interact with regularly, but just at times of boredom, has definitely taken flight. Maybe it’s about time we realise our time would be better invested if we skipped the boredom-provoked talks and did something more productive.

Depending on the type of relationship you have with a person, a delayed response to an instant message can take its toll on your psyche: it can provoke anxiety, disappointment or rejection. Text messages do not cause as much concern — the itch to wait for a reply or to be the one replying is definitely reduced.

When you are talking to a close friend or someone you are in a relationship with, the idea of having lengthy conversations is extremely common. Because of instant messaging services, sometimes you just do not know how to say ‘goodbye’ and a meaningful exchange becomes a desperate exchange between two people.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2013.


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