fear of missing out
small moments can raise more questions instead of uncover answers
It’s a topic I’ve spoken about almost endlessly throughout this blog. The ‘fear of missing out’ with regard to social media. I’ve been content with a life without social media, and I still have no doubt that this has been the correct road for me to take. But something happened this week that's making me reconsider how social media is positioned in my life, all our lives, and what it's doing to our connections.
I discovered that someone I would consider a fairly close friend had gotten married a few weeks ago, and the only way I found out was to see that their partner’s surname had changed. I’m thrilled for them, but it raises many questions for me.
- Can I blame social media for our detachment?
- Were we really as close as I thought we were?
- Do I blame myself for not keeping actively in touch?
- If my friends exclusively use social media to communicate, am I putting this on myself?
- Is social media making us less social? Is this by design?
These all feel like very legitimate considerations when a significant milestone occurred for a friend and I had no idea about it. I may be overthinking the situation, but this does make me wonder if there’s something more to what I’m missing by how technology connects me to the people I care about the most - and if it’s even connecting me at all.
I’ve slowly tried to remove certain applications (Facebook Messenger being the main one) from my technological social circle, but it feels as though this hasn’t had as large an impact as removing the other applications I’ve already slayed (Instagram, Facebook) because they were deactivated because of their tracking and advertising policies. I vehemently dislike the companies in charge of the messaging apps linked to these undesirable services - but I can’t tell if the messaging apps themselves should be in the same class. But if this is the case, am I not only punishing the company but also punishing myself and/or my friends?
Ultimately, I’m once again questioning the role of both social media and technology. This time though, I’m wondering what it’s doing to us. To all of us. To the way we connect as humans, and the future of human connection. Putting the negative online social world of Pre/Present/Post-Pandemic aside: Are we all growing apart as a result of technological innovation? Was I already growing apart from this friend, or did I intentionally isolate myself? We all don’t want to miss out on important moments, but maybe that’s just the way it is.
I promise, next time I’ll write about something else. But this seems to be a sticking point.