2183: Icon Swap
Randall denies having a social media addiction. However, he concludes that he must have some problem, as he opens his social media / news apps many times a day. He tries to remedy this addiction by rearranging the icons on his phone’s app launcher. Specifically, he swaps the app icon with that of an eBook reader, so opening the "social media app" would lead to the eBook reader, and vice versa. In this case, when he swaps a social media/news app with his E-book reading app, he ends up reading more books (as shown by the graph) because he is used to having his media app in its place, and is opening it up through muscle memory.
This results in the punch line, where he says that this causes him to read "a half-dozen" books before his muscle memory adjusts and not he stops opening his reader as often. Presumably, he changes the icons again in order to trick his muscle memory when he makes a conscious decision to read more books or use less social media.
Alternatively, Randall does not realize that he is reading books instead of a social media feed, and often gets through many books before realizing.
In the title text, Randall says that there is probably an eBook app in development that will use "breaking news alerts", typically sent as push notifications, about what is happening in the book, to prompt readers to continue reading more pages. This parallels how a news app works, which would send an alert when a new event occurs.
This topic is similar to one he went over in 477: Typewriter, where he is compulsively trying to check news websites despite using a typewriter.
- [A histogram of books finished over time. Spikes occur at certain points, with arrows marked "Icon Swap" pointing to the point before them.]
- [Caption below the panel:]
- I'm not saying I have a problem compulsively checking news and social media on my phone, but when I replace the social media app icon with my eBook reader, I read a half-dozen books before I get used to the change.
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