Coming back from spring break means everyone is uploading their trip pictures to social media. On my way back to Chapel Hill, I thought about what experiences or moments people miss out on in order to get the perfect social media worthy post. A little research proved that others have thought enough about this to conduct various studies.
Large percentages of people have overlooked everyday moments, missed out on vacation experiences and even risked their lives just to get a picture that will attract plenty of likes. On spring break, I was even criticized for posting an Instagram late at night because the number of views, and subsequently likes, would be reduced. This social media addiction has consequences on real life experiences.
We are the generation that coined the term FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) yet we consistently obsess over our devices, choosing to miss out on real life experiences. The rationale behind this must be that staying constantly connected, either by posting or looking at posts, will keep us from missing out on what goes on in the lives of people in our networks. But at what point did the goings-on in other people’s lives or their approval of our experiences become more important than real conversations and moments?
In a digital world that is potentially going to be entirely taken over by screens in the next few decades, finding solutions to this problem may be pointless. We’ve all taken quizzes that prove we’re not “addicted” to the Internet, but I’m willing to guess that most of us spent plenty of time on spring break capturing the perfect Instagram, Vine, etc.
In most cases of addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I think that recognizing the extent to which you are attached to your device or social media accounts is crucial to make change. Learning to disconnect is important and in my opinion, must become a habit for anyone with a fear of missing out in the real world.