I don’t feel healthy. I find myself reaching for my phone during even the most fleeting moment, with no other reason than to fill any gaps in my day by mindlessly scrolling through feeds that I completely gloss over. The goal is now more about feeling caught up than actually reading or looking at what I’m scrolling past. It feels unhealthy every time I catch myself doing it, and I’ve reached the point where I need to stop.
The other day, I tweeted a joke about an app that would show a video feed of myself whenever I found myself sucked into my phone and ignoring everything around me. While it was originally a joke, it hit extra hard thinking of the times my wife would text me a photo of me doing it or when she’d ask what I’m doing when I’d inevitably look at my phone for no reason when we’re out to eat. Not only did I feel unhealthy doing it, but I’ve also neglected those around me in the process.
A friend of mine saw the tweet and told me to delete Twitter from my phone. He did it a while back and felt great, but also came to realize that he didn’t miss it. Since then, I’ve been telling myself I’m going to do it, which in itself felt satisfying enough, despite not actually doing it—like buying a domain for an idea you’ll never make. Then today, I told another friend I was going to do it, and without hesitating he said, "Do it right now. Here, give me your phone." I gave into the peer pressure, but felt determined to do it myself, so I started hunting for the apps. I eventually found them buried in a sad face emoji folder (which did nothing to deter me once I discovered the Siri Suggestions shortcut). One by one, I held my finger over each app and tapped “delete”.
It’s been less than 24 hours, and I’ve already caught myself pulling the home screen and tapping where Twitter once was. It opens Messages instead. I’m certain that muscle memory will wear off, and I’ll be clear of the mindless routine of cycling through these apps to feel caught up. While I’m sure I’ll miss out on some things, I don’t think I’ll miss out on much. For now, my goal is to go at least two weeks without looking at Twitter or Instagram. Beyond that, I’m okay to use Twitter on my computer, but I won’t reinstall it on my phone. As for Instagram, I don’t know—while I do rely on it to keep in touch with remote friends, I’m not proud to admit how fast I tap through stories—mostly to feel caught up.
In the meantime, I’m still checking my email if anyone needs to reach me—even with a 140 character wise crack. Also, to refrain from completely closing myself off while not checking Twitter, I did set up a Zapier hook to auto-tweet any new blog posts I write. I hope it works, and I hope it’s not annoying. See you in a couple weeks!