All our habits, actions and behaviours are driven by what are called “triggers”. This also applies to our digital habits, actions and behaviours. And these triggers can be divided into what are called internal and external triggers (or intrinsic and extrinsic).

An internal trigger is something going on inside our minds or bodies that promotes the urge to partake in a particular behaviour, or to act a certain way (a really simple example is hunger).

An external trigger is something that happens in our environment that prompts us to do something (for example, you see the packet of biscuits in the cupboard, and now you want a biscuit!).

This concept is very well known in managing addiction. And while the jury is still out on digital addictions, it is very useful to think in terms of these triggers when we look at our digital interactions.
(For more information on internal and external triggers and how companies have created habit-forming products, you can check out “Hooked” by Nir Eyal).