Freshly Squeezed OpEd: When Is Enough Enough?

We are living in historic times. We’re all physically distanced and connecting to family and friends predominantly on the internet highway. (Yes, there are the renegades that use a smartPHONE as a PHONE, just like animals. Go figure.)

But a while before the world turned upside down, I had noticed a strange trend in my texting with family and friends. I was becoming a social app hoarder.

This wasn’t of my own doing, mind you. Allow me to explain.

Over the years I have reviewed over a hundred apps. They most likely fell only into maybe a dozen genres. For example, I must have tried dozens of word processors. To differentiate themselves, they would come up with either a useful twist or feature, or something ridiculously absurd, a real overreach.

I began noticing around a year ago that my Social App folder on my iPhone was starting to slowly overpopulate. It was slowly growing and growing.

One day, while taking a break, I started pondering the situation. Why? Why did I have so many different text apps? They served the same purpose. Sure, some had extra little features but in the end, all I was looking at was a text balloon, no matter which app.

Then one day a friend texted me and we ‘talked’ for a bit. After we were finished, about five minutes later, another friend texted me and I answered on a different app.

That’s when everything fell into place. Most of my friends had their favorite text apps. To hold a conversation with them, I had to download the corresponding app.

Just as I make custom ringtones for family members and friends so I know who’s calling without touching or even looking at my phone, I know who is texting me by the singular text tone of each app!

I even had one person lecture me that we had to use a specific app to text because the one we had been using she felt was to ‘impersonal’. Ahhhh…

Granted, we all prefer one app’s feature set over another’s. Some will swing 180 degrees as they treasure minimalism. And some will choose an app because they prefer the UI because they find it more pleasing to their eye. I know I chose a 3rd party Twitter client because I liked its design.

At the end of the day, they all do the same thing, basically. We use them to send a text, quote a text, or retweet a text.

It’s a pity that all these apps don’t work on a standard. Think of cars. If they’re gas cars, be they Buicks or Lamborghinis, they use the same petrol. Same goes for EVs. They run off electricity from their batteries.

The reason this came to the forefront for me is that it’s time to upgrade computers. I’m toying with going completely iPadPro. But even if I stay with a desktop, I’m pruning my apps to regain storage space. In this instance, I am a hoarder.

I can tell you which contact is texting me solely by its alert sound. I find that frightening. I can’t remember what I had for lunch but associating a text app with a specific person is a breeze.

If you’re looking for a point to this diatribe, I apologize – there is none. It’s merely an observation that I currently have after looking at a folder stuffed with over a dozen social media apps. Mind boggling.

Let me know with a reply if you find yourself experiencing the same dilemma. It’s definitely a first-world problem. Yet a very strange one at that, don’t you think?

©2020 Frank Petrie