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Social Media And “The Fear Of Missing Out” Phenomenon

Submitted by on May 5, 2013 – 7:00 PM One Comment


The new window on my browser is constantly blinking after every two minutes as I sit here on my desktop, trying to write a blog. I type one sentence and oh wait; I have a new notification on my Facebook account. So, kindly, excuse me for a minute! You seriously have no idea how much I will miss if I don’t check it right NOW (or maybe you do). Log in after a week and you will feel as if you have missed out on an era. Well, this is precisely how social media websites manipulate and rule our lives.

About a month ago, I was living with serenity in my own happy bubble until an android phone walked into my house and infringed upon all the peace that prevailed. Bubbles have a habit of bursting after all!

Easy accessibility to the internet soon infiltrated my life and logging in to my previously dormant Facebook account multiple times a day soon became a routine. The result: I ended up being less focused and more distracted than ever before. But well, I am more “informed” now; I now know what my preschool friend eats for dinner every day. In fact, I can even see and drool over all the appetizing snaps she uploads.(Pardon me for all that I have written; of course I do accept the fact that like everything ,social media harbors a positive side too).

What is even more amusing is the fact that while I do realize the impact this near partial social media addiction is having on my time.  I am just unable to let go (despite not liking it).I suppose this is where human psychology jumps in; when we knowingly jump into a well, while still possessing insight about its depth and the potential harm.

An hour ago, while I was surfing through a psychology research journal to come up with a topic for my blog, I found a manuscript that fit my situation perfectly, rather a dilemma faced by all and sundry.

Dr Przybylski at the University of Essex conducted a research on a phenomenon called “Fear of Missing out (FoMo)”. FoMo is a concern rampant among social media users, a feeling that others are having more rewarding experiences in their lives, accompanied by an urge to stay connected and aware of all that is taking place in a friend’s life. It’s just that social media has provided us with a window with which we can peep into other people’s lives with ease like never before.

The study researchers designed a test to rate the FoMo index of the participants. Delving further into the idea behind the study, Dr Pryzbylski concluded that while social media can be rewarding enough in its own right, how we are using it has changed the global scene tremendously for we no longer have to make an effort at switching on our desktops and logging in to keep track. Smart phones have conjured up a miniature world at our beck and call, let alone getting up or moving, a gentle touch is all that is needed to satisfy the inundating text and alerts 24/7.

He said that psychollogically deprived people are more prone to having a high FoMo index since they resort to social media sites in an effort to bridge the void in their lives, and end up getting more perturbed and distressed. Also, people with a high FoMo index tend to be more ungrateful about their lives since they are so intent on following other people’s activities that they fail to focus on the beautiful things which cross their path, hence the discontentment.

The key to staying clean and coming out unscathed lies in moderation. Pertinent and moderate use of social media can be truly wonderful and fulfilling without affecting our scanty brain cells to the point of extinction.




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  • Ezza Fatima

    Nicely expressed.i agree,how social media.has kind of added to stress in addition to helping us