The Danger of Infinity Apps

Jan 16, 2015
Joe Buhlig
~1 min

An infinity app is one with a never-ending stream of some kind. It’s an app that always has new updates for you to consume.

If you have a smartphone, there’s a good chance that you use at least a few of these. Almost every social media and video network has a streaming feed. It’s great! There’s a continuous stream of information that you can learn about, making it really easy to find new content. So what’s the problem?

Time

When are you done? How do you know when you’ve read everything that you need to read? You can spend an endless amount of time with these apps because you’ll never reach the end. There’s always more that you can do on them.

Comparing yourself

Typically, these apps are choosing which updates to show you. And they’re usually the most popular updates. But in most cases that means it’s something extreme - vacation photos, a new mom with hair in order, a killer swordfish dinner, or the adorable new puppy. The more we see those extraordinary updates, the more we wonder if that’s the norm. If that’s the norm, am I normal? You see where this goes — am I good enough?

What to do

There are a couple things you can do to avoid the comparison and time-suck of these apps. The first is easy — delete it. Then you’ll never have to deal with it again. But more often than not, you’d rather have it stick around. If that’s the case, I’d recommend setting time limits (5 or 10 minutes?) on these apps or even scheduling your time with them (once or twice a day?). Put a limit on it. Don’t let the hours of time disappear without something to bring you back to reality.

And when you are using these apps, be aware of the “cherry picking” that goes on. Know that those are the best times and that life happens. When the camera is off, life goes on and it’s not always as good (or bad) as you saw.