Here it is! The second episode of a new Verge podcast called Why’d You Push That Button. On this show, my colleague, Circuit Breaker’s Ashley Carman, and me, the Culture section’s most self-indulgent blogger, talk about all the tiny decisions your gadgets and apps force you to make every day. All day, every day, we’re pushing buttons and thinking about the intended or unintended consequences. We’re interviewing consumers — including friends, co-workers, loved ones, and some strangers — and then we’re talking to product designers and experts who built the tech or have studied it professionally.
Last week, we started things off with Tinder’s Super Like feature. This week, we’re talking about read receipts — the timestamp that’s optional in iMessage and mandatory in Facebook Messenger, that lets anyone who’s trying to correspond with you know exactly when you saw their words and chose not to respond.
Why do you leave them on? Why do you turn them off? Why must you insist on subtly manipulating every person in your life? We heard from our friends who have made these choices, and then we took their responses to Lujayn Alhddad, who studied human-computer interaction while obtaining her master's degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She wrote a paper on this exact topic, and she knows what’s up.
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