Breaking the iPhone Addiction I Didn’t Think I Had: Facebook

Facebook Checking
Dado Ruvic | Reuters


It took my quitting Facebook to realize I have an iPhone addiction.


I’ve quit Facebook in the past, signing off with an epic status (soon to disappear, of course) that detailed why I was leaving. It’s not you; it’s me… but also you. I wasn’t intending to be pietistic. It’s just that it’s difficult for the “Why I’m Quitting Facebook” line-in-the-sand not to come across as a little holier-than-thou.

So the last time I quit—and I trust it really is the last time—I didn’t comment on it. I don’t even remember if I had a “Here’s my email” post—I just sort of left.

I’d taken the Facebook app off my iPhone at least a dozen times—only to re-download it again within a few days each time. It’s so inefficient to look at a tiny, few-inch screen and just keep swiping through. I could see more of my News Feed (or whatever they call it now) way faster on a computer! But the phone was so handy, and the Facebook app—as poorly developed as it is—was just a-reach-into-the-pocket away.


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No, I didn’t go through Facebook withdrawal. That social media platform is actually pretty unremarkable, my wonderful friends and family members notwithstanding. It’s just that I was right back on my phone, now flicking through my Twitter feed.

If you read the tech pundits long enough, you’ll wonder: How is Twitter even in business anymore? But leaving Facebook made me latch on to that bizarre platform even more tightly.

It got even worse once I downloaded Tweetbot. (This is usually the point in my blog post where I give you an App Store affiliate link, on which I earn approximately 0.00000000000001% commission, but nobody needs to be on Twitter more, and the App Store is an enabler, so I eschew the hyperlink.)

Tweetbot allows you to set up adjacent columns, each of which can be a curated list of folks you follow on Twitter. How fun it (really) was to check out all my “Writing Implements” people on Twitter and see what they had to say about fountain pens. And my “App Developers” list? Those folks are hilarious—some of the best social commentary (especially about Twitter-the-company) that you’ll find anywhere.

But I had simply replaced Facebook with not-quite-but-still-kind-of-Facebook, and then started spending even more time on Twitter.


*    *    *    *    *


The same process followed—delete Tweetbot off the phone, check it on the computer. Re-download it to my phone since I was accessing it on the computer anyway. Get frustrated with myself. Check Twitter to assuage the feelings of Twitter-induced guilt. Etc.

So I finally gave up browsing Twitter for Lent. Tweetbot is gone, and I only still have my Twitter handle because this blog automatically Tweets with a link to a new post. I’m otherwise not on it, for the most part.

“How do you discern an addiction?” Richard Foster asks. “Very simply, you watch for undisciplined compulsions.”

You know you’re addicted to your phone when you delete one social networking app and—within a day—your compulsion to just check something leads you to replace it with another.


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Stay tuned for more related confessions and reflections:

  • On Facebook, Off Facebook, On Twitter, Off Twitter… On Instagram
  • Notification Weaning
  • Why I’m Taking the 16 GB iPhone Upgrade over 64 GB
  • Pre-Dinner, Child-Induced Frenzy and My Escape Screen
  • Analog Again

4 thoughts on “Breaking the iPhone Addiction I Didn’t Think I Had: Facebook

  1. This post got me to thinking….about me and my own compulsions, about our family patterns. It provided much fodder for discussion with my in-laws as well. Thanks for sharing so candidly, and in a very gentle way, so as to provoke thought, and not a sense of judgement. Appreciate it and look forward to more of the same.

    1. Oh, good! Thanks for the feedback. Glad you found it gentle and not judge-y. It really is autobiographical, but I am guessing in a universal way–something we all still need to figure out with new technologies.

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