How Do You Know Whether Your Instagram Direct Message Has Been Read?
When Instagram rolled out in 2010 as a photo-sharing app, few people imagined the explosive growth that the app would enjoy. In fact, by March of 2019 there were more than 95 million daily posts to Instagram, and 500 million people worldwide use Instagram Stories every day. An entire generation of young people has grown up with aspirations to become “Instagram Influencers” as a legitimate PR and marketing career. Not only is Instagram a leading photo- and video-sharing platform, but the site has expanded to add new functionality to satisfy its feature-hungry users.
One such feature was the addition of Direct Messages (DMs) in late 2013. Although it took longer for DMs to catch on than the app’s creators had expected, DMs are now a go-to method of communication for the social-media-aware set. Direct messaging features in social media apps have an interesting psychology associated with them. Users who are ordinarily very patient and laid-back can become very agitated when they become involved with direct message technology, on Instagram or any other platform. The instantaneous-seeming nature of the service creates an expectation of an instant or at least very very rapid response by the other party to the conversation. People who would leave a voice-mail and then wait contentedly for someone to get back to them, because they understand that life happens and things take time, suddenly turn into needy teenagers if you keep them waiting longer than 30 seconds for a reply to a DM or social media post.
Perhaps you are one of those people! In this article, I am going to show you how to tell whether your Instagram direct message has been read. I’m also going to discuss how to keep people from finding out whether you’ve received their messages or not.
How to use Instagram direct messaging
If you haven’t ever used Instagram DMs, let me first review how they work. DMs are very useful and straightforward (in contrast to some other Instagram features, which have user interfaces apparently designed by people who hate all other human beings). Instagram DMs don’t offer anything that chat apps don’t offer, but the DMs being built right into the app does allow you and your friends to have a dialog focused on picture postings.
There are a couple of different ways to send a direct message:
- Open Instagram and log in.
- Select the paper plane icon in the top right of the app. This opens Instagram Direct and displays a list of your Instagram connections.
- Tap the person you want to send a message to or tap the + button in the upper right hand corner to just write in the username of someone you aren’t connected to.
- Write your message in the text box.
- Hit Send.
Instagram DMs work more or less the same as messaging in any other normal chat app; the message is sent internally within the app’s own platform (not sent externally as with an SMS message) and the recipient can usually see the DM instantaneously.
Another method of accessing the DM system is through viewing someone’s profile. This is quite useful when you stumble across a profile with content you like or recognize and want to reach out to that person.
- View someone’s profile.
- Select Message from buttons in the middle of the screen.
- Write the message as you normally would in the box at the bottom.
- Hit Send.
Unlike some platforms, where messages from people who aren’t connected are considered somewhat suspect, in Instagram DMs are always sent right to the recipient’s mailbox. Instagram does this to increase the level of engagement between its users.
Has your Instagram direct message has been read?
Instagram provides immediate feedback to tell you that a message has been read (or at least seen) by its recipient. If the message is private (one on one), you will see ‘Seen’ under your message when the recipient has read it.
Avoid sending a read receipt for Instagram direct messages
There are times when you might just be busy and not have time to engage with someone via DM, but still want to get their message in case it has something important in it. There is a simple method of doing this, although it involves a bit of effort. Basically, the idea is to disconnect your device from the Internet before reading the message, so that you can’t send a read receipt.
If for any reason you don’t want people to know you have read their Instagram direct message, try this:
- Do not open the DM when you see it arrive.
- Turn off WiFi and/or cellular data or switch your phone to Airplane mode.
- Open the message and read it. This will queue up a read receipt to send, but it can’t send because there’s no Internet.
- Return to your profile page or leave the conversation.
- Log out and then shut down the Instagram app.
- Turn on WiFi and/or cellular data or switch Airplane mode off.
- You can open Instagram if you need to but don’t go back into the conversation. If you do, the app will send the queued read receipt.
There are many reasons why you may not want to send a read receipt for Instagram direct messages. This method works on Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and many other social networks. Use it well!
Are there other ways to tell whether your Instagram direct message has been read? Got any other ways to avoid sending read receipts? Tell us about them below!
If you’re a regular user of Instagram, check out our resources for IG fans!
Here’s our guide to changing the font in your Instagram story.
We’ve got a tutorial on how to download and save someone else’s Instagram video.
Here’s a walkthrough on how to view someone’s Instagram story without them knowing.
We’ve got a great tutorial on how to add a picture or video to an existing Instagram story.
Here’s our piece on how to delete a single image from an Instagram post.