I was reading a New York Times article, “Feel Like a Wallflower? Maybe It’s Your Facebook Wall,” and it really made me think about the effect social media has on our (social) lives. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is something I often suffer with upon going online. I may be perfectly content sitting and watching a movie, relaxing. Then I check my twitter feed and see that four of my friends are out at the bar, having a blast. I always want to join.
This is something I have been struggling with for many years. I used to hate it when my friends would make plans and not invite me. It was one thing if just two friends were hanging out together, but it’s entirely different when it’s a big group. I always want to be a part of it, if only to remember that they like me. It seems childish but we all seek that approval. Social media has really impacted they way and think I feel about this issue. Going online reminds you that you’re online and not out, living life.
There are some opposing views. For example, with smart phones (and it’s 2011, so more and more people are being forced by providers to acquire such phones) we can be connected at any point in time. This means, we’re not necessarily sitting at home alone and reading about our friends’ fun time. We could be out having our own fun. However, there is still a natural emotional pull to be doing what your other friends are doing. You want to be where they are.
So, does this mean that we leave social media? Is it affecting our lives so much that it causes depression, leaving us unable to function? I say, “Nay!” It is our job to find a balance and accept that people can not revolve around our own lives. On the other hand, it would be an agreeable statement to say that social media does lead to depression. It does lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness. Growing up is hard, and it’s made harder by our ever growing number of connections. Our minds are overwhelmed. We can only process so much.
In the end, now that we’re so connected, it may be next to impossible to disconnect yourself. Yes, you can delete your Facebook and Twitter. In theory, you would never have to worry about it. However, more and more invitations go out on Facebook. You may crave the knowledge that comes with living your life online.
Good luck with your decision making.