This compulsion to fill the silence is related to the Vortex phenomenon, which refers to people’s lack of control over the amount of time they spend online, due to continuous digital temptations that pull them deeper and deeper into interacting with their devices. As people feel the need to fill every single empty moment, they are more and more drawn to their devices, as an easy way to satisfy that need.
I love my iPhone SE, but I have noticed recently how it has become a fidget device. In a theater waiting for the movie to start, at a pub waiting for our drinks, in the grocery store checkout line. I check it knowing that there will be nothing new to see and nothing I can do about it even if there is something new.
I’m noticing those moments more often, which I consider a good sign. When I notice that I’ve “woken up,” I put the phone down or back in my pocket, breathe, look around, and let whatever thoughts want to float by, float by. I remind myself to be grateful for where I am now. Nothing bad has happened yet.
(Via Allen Jacobs’ email newsletter)