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The App Compulsion

Greg Morris on trying to break the compulsion to open the Twitter app or visit the website:

Whenever an idea hits me, or I just want to ‘say’ something to the internet I press the little blue box with the bird on it. That is just what I’ve always done, well for the last 12 years anyway, and that habit is proving almost impossible to break. If thoughts arise, they are flung onto the internet in the quickest possible time!

This isn’t restricted to the mobile app either. In fact I haven’t had it installed for weeks, but I can open Safari, and be browsing through Twitter before I even register what is going on. Every spare moment where I could be bored, my hand instinctively reaches for my phone. I don’t even think it has anything to do with the service, it is simply a behavioural habit that is almost impossible for me to break. The muscle memory of years of usage is so powerful that I can’t switch it off without expending a lot of energy.

I've noticed a related phenomenon, where I will someone find myself opening Inoreader, or the Sudoku app on my iPad, to kill time. It was even worse when I had more games on my iPad, I could easily lose an hour or more at a time if I wasn't careful. Screen Time limits have curbed that somewhat, thankfully.

I've not been on any social media for several years now, but I suspect that the behaviours that those apps and websites cultivated in me will take a while to shake off fully.

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