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App-Ed: Let Freedom Ring

An app to free you from the tyranny of social media

A friend of mine recently tweeted this:

Once you get past the irony of tweeting a recommendation for an app that essentially blocks Twitter and the like on your phone, you’ve got to admit there’s no time like the present to schedule a little time off from things like Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use to make yourself a little crazier.

Thanks to college students, these apps already existed for laptop and desktop computers. You might recognize the aptly named Self-Control as one; there are also quite a few others that block your browser from being able to access or or any other website you tell it to. And these things do a good job, especially on a timer that cannot be tinkered with. Once you start yourself on that journey, only time can save you from your solitude

But that leaves our cellphones, perhaps the place where we access the internet the most these days. Freedom works well — it essentially asks for control of your VPN and then blocks things from the source. Easy, breezy and fully schedule-able in case you know that between the hours of 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday you would like to be able to focus on other things — like Jeopardy or reading a book, for example.

(Don’t want to block yourself from Twitter and the like, but want to better organize your time? Try a productivity app like ATracker, Focus Keeper, 30/30 or Forest.)

But ultimately, if you have no self-control — or access to a nearby iPad or laptop — no iPhone app, no matter how tricky or powerful the blocker, is going to keep you from your vices. The problem with social media is that it’s everywhere. Social media now exists on TV, in newspapers, even spoken aloud. It’s unavoidable. In addition to downloading Freedom, you might actually need to rent a cabin the woods to fully disconnect.

Or, you could just switch on Airplane Mode. If you dare.