In today’s day of age, it seems as if the most important thing is to be constantly in the know and updated at every minute with what is going on. Social media plays a big role in this with providing ways to have tabs on everyone’s lives at each moment. It technically all began in 1979 with Usenet, which was where posts about news could be made for newsgroups. It continued from there on, developing more and more. When I became aware of social media, it was Myspace in 2003, where it was taboo for anyone in middle school to have it. Some parents allowed it, but in my family it was forbidden. To me, this is where the idea of FOMO began. For the people who do not what FOMO is, it is an acronym for fear of missing out.
After Myspace came Facebook in 2004, the flow of social media began to come rolling out like a snowball down a hill. It was Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIn and some in between. As each progressed, more accounts were made and the average person was found as odd if they didn’t have an account on most of these sites or apps. My first touch of social media began when I pleaded my mom to have a Facebook account, but just for the use of Farmville and similar games I saw my friends playing. As I grew older, I began posting on a regular basis and eventually expanded my social media presence by getting a Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and I’m sure some startups that I can’t recall. Why did I feel the need to have more than one account on the Internet? Well of course because everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to miss out on anything! Social media wasn’t only a place on your phone or computer, it extended into real life conversations and the social hotspots for anything and anyone.
When time passed, my Facebook use dwindled down like many, and I turned to the newer social Medias, such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. What I began to realize though is eventually I wasn’t going on to post anymore, but just too constantly see what others were up to. Endless minutes or evens hours spent on scrolling through news feeds to not get behind on what was happening at each moment. I had FOMO much like the rest of the population. About a year or so ago I realized this and just how much senseless time I was wasting on my phone and not being present in real time. I found myself looking at everyone’s Snapchat stories or Instagram feeds and feeling like I was missing something in my life because I wasn’t part of what everyone was doing. People post all these “amazing” things, to show off to other people just how great their lives are. But in reality, did anybody ever think that there is more to just someone’s social media profile? Why would people post the downs of their lives? They wouldn’t. Only the best of people are out there, creating a façade.
As this hit me pretty hard, I realized I did not need to make myself feel bad because I wasn’t part of what everyone else was doing. I didn’t need to spend hours on my phone through all social media sites or apps just to know that so and so was “Having a great day with my gals eating ice cream!” or “Look at me in this selfie, I love life”. I wasn’t going to be missing anything important at all if I didn’t engage. So, I put a stop to it. Twitter saw the delete button, as did Snapchat. Facebook was at a tossup with deleting, along with Instagram, but I figured I could save them for longer. Some may say this was a silly thing, because social media is how the world thrives today. But to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoy being without these apps and many more.
There are many pros to not having Twitter or Snapchat: not viewing annoying posts, less screen time, being in the present, overall better positivity, and just this sense of freedom. I am not tied down to technology and until you do it, you will never fully understand this sense of bliss. Yes, I still have Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest, well I just couldn’t live without that one. But I’m not using these apps for FOMO, I’m using them because I want to and it’s in my own personal interest, not others. Facebook is a way to stay in touch with people I don’t get to see often, and Instagram, well a picture is worth a thousand words. Pinterest is something I will always keep close just because it actually has worth contributing to my life. I use it for my DIYs, homemade recipes, book suggestions, and much more.
I don’t mean to be a Debby Downer with bashing social media. Social media is a huge part of our functioning world at this time and many corporations and people use it to their advantage. It is a way to connect with friends, spread news, get out important messages, raise money, and more. Yet, I am saying do not let this technology and bubble of social media abuse you, use it to your personal benefit and not for wasting time. Some jobs and professions may not allow you to detach from social media. However, if I cannot fully convince you of decreasing your online presence, try to at least do a one-week detox or something of the sorts. Experience what it is like to be without a few social media accounts or even technology as a whole. I can promise you that this will not tarnish your image or harm you in anyway, there truly are only benefits that can be found.