What the First App Says about Us

MG Siegler believes the first app you open in the morning says something about you.

I see the first app you turn to in the morning as the new homepage. Some might argue it’s your entire homescreen of apps, but I don’t think that’s right. It’s the one service you care most about, no matter the reason, and want to load immediately upon hitting the web. The delivery device has changed, but the concept has not.

What I find interesting is not which app people are choosing to open first thing in the morning, but the fact that apps are the first thing so many of us choose. Siegler traces back his own first app from Twitter to Path to Facebook to Email. For me it would be Twitter to Reeder to Email.

And I think Siegler’s right that before smartphones, it would have been a favorite website on my laptop, something like Slate or Pitchfork or the New York Times. And if I go further back (like a hypnotist regressing the patent to remember former lives), before we even had the internet, it would have been a book, or a copy of The New Yorker, or (even further back) cartoons on TV.

The difference between apps and everything that came before is that the apps we choose now (Twitter, or Facebook, Flipboard, RSS readers) tend to gather and serve up content from myriad, disparate sources. Before apps, we had to choose one source at a time. What I find intoxicating about the apps I open in the morning is the possibility of surprise. As Ben Thompson says, it’s so much more delightful to get the gift I didn’t know I wanted.

But, like Rands and Alexis Madrigal, I agree that this stream of brief interestingness might not be entirely good for me. Perhaps it’s time to try a new first app.