Kathryn Gregory of the West Virginia Gazette recently wrote an article discussing the link for many between social media and the fear of “missing out”. In her article, Gregory discussed how the many forms of social media can cause anxiety, “As the constant need for communication is becoming the social norm, it’s increasingly difficult for people to differentiate their virtual life from their real social life, leading to ballooned social anxiety. “
Indeed, it’s easy to see how so many have become more than just dependant on their mobile devices and social networks – for many users, the need to keep from missing out on something that could be great is too much to take. As Gregory noted,” That need for constant communication may stem from something being dubbed the “fear of missing out,” a sense that people think there is something better going on than the activity they are participating in at the moment. That need turns into a compulsion to be constantly connected.”
As technology users are quickly integrating devices and constant communication into their daily lives, the stress of having to stay connected or of finding out what others are doing and feeling like your life doesn’t measure up can cause serious discontent in even the most experienced technology user, although the experience does vary from user to user.
While social networking is still a relatively new form of communication, there are certainly indicators that its use, or overuse, could have potentially negative effects on some users. Those who suffer from social anxiety or who are prone to having feelings of being “left out” or always missing out on activities may find themselves hurt when they use social media, as it can glamorize other people’s lives and give us a feeling that someone is always doing something better. For some individuals, this can lead to feelings of sadness or can even intensify feelings of loneliness, making it important to think about how you are using social media in your life.