Oh, no! FOMO!

By Caitlin Kelly

Instagram in Instagram. Also: insomnia.
Instagram in Instagram. Also: insomnia. (Photo credit: thatgrumguy)

Is your life (yet) dominated by FOMO — fear of missing out?

Funny/sad story from The New York Times about the insidious effects of Instagram:

For many urban creative professionals these days, it’s not unusual to scroll through one’s Instagram feed and feel suffocated by fabulousness:There’s one friend paddling in the surf at Positano under a fiery Italian sunset. Another is snapping away at a sweaty Thom Yorke from the third row at an Atoms for Peace concert in Austin. Yet another is sipping Champagne in Lufthansa business class en route to Frankfurt, while a fourth is huddling with friends over omakase at Masa.

Members of the Facebook generation are no strangers to the sensation of feeling a little left out when their friends post from that book party they weren’t invited to, or from someone’s latest transporting trip to the white sands of Tulum. Yet even for those familiar with the concept of social-media envy, Instagram — the highest achievement yet in
social-media voyeurism — presents a new form of torture.

I confess, I have yet to start using Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. I’ve been enjoying photos snapped by a young pro photographer pal in Chicago on Instagram — but only when he posts them on Facebook as well.

Facebook is bad enough, thanks.

I have a few acquaintances or professional contacts whose updates are sufficiently envy-inducing as it is — the best-selling authors crowing about their latest Hollywood movie deals, a writer friend who boasts, almost daily, about the deluge of assignments landing, unbidden, in her lap, and a therapist who seems to spend all her time on vacation in places like Venice, Africa and Paris.

I love how every new iteration of status markers simply keeps evolving — from Chinese rank badges to the sedan chair to nose-thumbing via pixel. It seems as primal as breathing to show off how fantastic your life is.

Do you end up gnashing your teeth, (even just a little), at all the too-perfect photos of smiling babies, immaculate houses and glam vacation spots cluttering your feed(s)?

27 thoughts on “Oh, no! FOMO!

  1. Absolutely!! I have one friend in particular who mostly posts pictures or status updates about her boyfriend, the gifts he sent her, their wine tasting trip, and other blissfully happy moments with her and her “love.” I recently hit the “hide from my feed” button because I’m tired of having her love affair shoved in my face every day, and find it annoying that this is all she posts about! If that sounds bitchy, oh well.

    Then there are the friends who post about selling a screenplay, premiering their movie, so on and so forth. While I’m happy for them (and my friend), there is a part of me that winces every time. Unfortunately, you can’only pick and choose what you’re exposed to up to a point.

      1. I once de-friended within seconds a woman who lived with my cousin for many years after she said something to me on FB that was really private family stuff. Boom! She’s just nuts.

  2. With pictures and self-editorializing, it’s impossible to tell what their lives are really like. Since I have a rather twisted sense of humor, I assume their sex lives are terrible or they are secretly filled with self-loathing or are just about to file bankruptcy because of their high-flying lifestyle. That’s right – I live on the sunny side of the street, the one where everyone has melanoma, dark secrets and an axe to grind/bury.

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I know it sounds CRAZY but the number of couples I see (as therapist) who somehow tie in their insecurity related to other couples they see with happy, smiling pictures and over the top PDA via status updates is unbelievable to me. On the other end of work (church-related) I see so many spiritual guides/ pastors who can’t have a freaking thought without putting it out there for the world to see. It’s like it isn’t valid if it doesn’t get liked enough.

      1. Not at all. She’s wonderful. And I love her vomity kid too, although I’ve never met him. But with snaps like that, I have no illusions about my friends having perfect lives. Anyway, it was a vomity day for me too. 🙂

  4. Great post. You nailed it. I took a fast for several weeks from FB and felt great. I am sooooo weary of all the ‘stuff’ – promotions of books over and over, speaking engagements, travel, and so much more. For my own well-being I had to disengage which I did. Now I have helped my situation some what. I created a list of who I want to read and stick to that list at times when I get on. Helps me to stay in touch with people and limit my time for my own sanity.

  5. Pingback: Pros to being Introverted | unsolicitedtidbits

  6. I post my photos in Facebook but this is for my family and my friends who are living far from here.
    We can contact through the photos.
    So knowing my family’s status update on SNS is pretty good way in my life now.
    But I also can’t stop thinking about comments from them and especially my friends’ posts contribute FOMO. I know I don’t have to compare with them in my head but sometimes I envy them or get frustrated.
    Thanks for your post! I reconsider that how use SNS.

  7. Hear, hear! So much bragging…so little interest. I think people as a whole are getting tired of it.

    A lot of people tell me they want to deactivate (I have) for a year and a half and it’s so easy and liberating.

    I have a “page” set up but I think it’s a waste of time.

    1. I skim over a lot of it and completely ignore the people who only self-promote or boast. I really enjoy some of them. I admit (yes, FOMO in extremis) I loved some recent pix of a friend being embraced by George HW Bush and one of him with the Obamas…He is a longtime DC news photographer and a lovely man, so it all makes professional sense for him.

      Photos of your safari? No.

  8. i come and go from fb, and don’t use instagram or twitter. when fb begins to get to me, i just back off from it for a while. it does help me keep in touch with far away fam and friends, and i have those people put into a little group i can read without going through the whole thing.

    every so often i purge myself of people who just cannot stop talking about themselves or who get into political or religious battles of some sort, just to rant or hear themselves speak.

    1. The endless political/religious rants, (oh, and kittens and updates ordering us all to ADOPT THIS DOG RIGHT NOW), are indeed egregious. Do people have no clue how boring and annoying they are?!

  9. I don’t post as much as I used to but instead thoroughly enjoy a private group with people who grew up in the same cult as I did and have broken free. It is an extremely supportive community and the members are honest and real about our experiences. It is definitely not a glossed over version of life as I find most of the fb posts are in general.

  10. Yes, it’s tough. I’ve been trying very hard, the last year especially, not to compare myself to other people. My whole life I’ve compared myself to others and it’s a very bad habit, one I’m trying to break, so social media doesn’t help in that case. But it’s going to be something I have to do in my head, not by (or not only by) removing myself from social media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s