Amy Jo Kim on Happy Habits

Amy Jo Kim (@amyjokim), one of my favorite voices in software, not just game, design has emerged from a long hiatus and begun blogging again.

All her work is worth studying, but one post in particular, Happy Habits: Engagement Design Meets Positive Psychology, hits home.

I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with social applications, specifically Facebook, and how they affect personal relationships. The immediacy of real-time interactions and the lack of IRL cues like tone of voice and body language lead to flame wars of epic proportions, benefitting no one.

No one has ever won a fight on the internet.

Plus, these applications are highly addictive, creating a nasty cycle, and they tend to fill up all the potentially quiet moments that could be filled with thinking, observation and any number of things we used to do before smartphones and ubiquitous connectivity.

If I could find it, I would reactivate my old clamshell RAZR, if only to remove the temptation. Maybe I’ll just dumb-down my smartphone.

Anyway, I’ve been weighing the value of a full disconnect or at least a drastic modification, e.g. a paleo media diet.

Of course, there’s no happiness guarantee, but at least I could remember what it was like to be disconnected.

I know I’m not alone.

Find the comments.




  1. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother and the other person, don’t write/type it. After three decades using email, instant messaging, and a variety of social networking tools, I still prefer walking over to talk with folks in person, or calling them on the telephone when walking isn’t an option.

  2. RAZR, hah ! I’ve an even older Nokia that doesn’t have a camera, USB or removable storage. Handy if you need to visit a secure site where such things are frowned upon. [The last such place I went to had a small selection of old donated phones that could be borrowed. ]

  3. Nice. I used to have a couple of those old Nokias, but they went to the great gadget gig in the sky a long time ago. That old RAZR might still be in my basement . . . .

  4. Well put. The big problem is experience. You have 30 years in, I have 20, but for the vast majority of Facebook users, dialog online is a brand new frontier. They haven’t tried and failed to win argument online. It’s a learning process, a very painful one.

  5. “No one has ever won a fight on the internet.”

    Too true! If everyone worked that out, then maybe 50% of internet interactions / commenting / forums would stop immediately. It’s a sad thing, all of the ranting and shouting and stuff that goes on, and like you say, nobody ever wins, each side just digs in deeper and feel more and more outraged that the other person won’t see their point of view. Just look at YouTube comments – some are interesting, most are insults and people being offended at the insults and so on for infinity.

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