Holly Bailey

Texting Anxiety Caused by Little Bubbles

The three dots shown while someone is drafting a message in iMessage is quite possibly the most important source of eternal hope and ultimate letdown in our daily lives,” said Maryam Abolfazli, a writer in Washington who has tackled the topic. “It’s the modern-day version of watching paint dry, except you might be broken up with by the time the dots deliver.”

For some time, sociologists have studied the way that new technology affects the brain; the way that constant updates prime us to fear we’re missing out, or the way we crave the adrenaline rush brought on by a constant stream of digital micro-communications.

But what about the tyranny of the text bubble? Indeed, there are real problems in the world. But this was the kind of modern-day technological minutiae that had the ability to jail me in a very specific cognitive hell.

“The awareness indicator as implemented on the iPhone is a curious beast — it conveys that something is being done, but it won’t say what,” said Paul Dourish, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, who studies the intersection of technology and society. “It’s curiously coy.”

Stories like this make me want to go live in a cave—especially the part where one woman admits she actually edits a text in a separate window when she’s texting a guy so that he doesn’t know how long it’s taking her to write. Seriously?

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