FoMo (Fear of missing out) has been a hot topic recently. Studies have shown that Social Media is causing us more and more anxiety, and although it’s teens that are being hit the hardest, it’s affecting us all.
It’s unsurprising. Nowadays, if you avoid social media, you’re likely to be an outcast. Where will the invite to the party come from if I’m not on Facebook? How will I keep up with what the celebrities are saying if I’m not on Twitter?
The constant fear and stress of having to check our messages is causing us anxiety, and if we’re not keeping an eye on what’s happening, even for a few minutes, we’re potentially missing out. (Hence the term FoMo.) Social Media has picked up on this, which is why we’re bombarded with tons of email reminding us of birthdays, events, and status updates on why Sarah is feeling so sad today – all sent to make us feel like we’re missing out on something.
Whether or not you check your messages and tweets instantly, they will be there waiting for you when you finish work/school. Good friends will always be there, no matter your status or social media activity. Don’t allow social media to take your eyes off the prize – living life. Otherwise, it will be living that you’re actually missing out on.
Let’s have a look at two of the main causes of FoMo – Facebook & Twitter.
The Facebook Like
For me, the saddest thing about the Facebook Like is that people are actually doing things in life just to get a like on Facebook. What happened to the enjoyment of doing something without it having to be plastered over Facebook? It’s nice to share experiences with friends and family (and other people in your list of friends you’ve never met), but when you’re obsessed with putting a picture on Facebook rather than enjoying the moment, there’s an issue. It comes back to our need to seek approval from others. We’re anxious about what other people think about us, so we want everybody to know how great our lives are. For most people, this is far from the truth (no matter how great your life looks on Facebook). If we focused more on enjoying the moment rather than pleasing others, I’m sure we would lead happier lives.
Tweeting & Retweeting
I was surprised to hear there’s etiquette when it comes to retweeting. I’m not entirely sure what happens if you break these Twitter laws – maybe the Social Media Police come to arrest you? I jest, but that’s because social media is meant to be fun, and a means of communicating and connecting with others. The pressure we’re putting on ourselves is not only causing us excessive anxiety – it’s taking the fun and enjoyment away from the experience. See Twitter for what it really is – a great tool for connecting. Some people will like your Tweets, others won’t. Some might read them, plenty won’t. Twitter will be much more fun and less anxiety-inducing when you accept this reality.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & wellbeing.