In an age of non-stop tweets and trending topics, social media is pretty much the way to communicate and share information – both breaking news and nonsensical status updates on how great your apple was earlier. With the average American spending hours on Facebook and Twitter every day, many are curious as to how this new social network is affecting our psyches. Are we going crazy from all of the ridiculous memes that become the talk of the day? And no – I refuse to tell you if I see that dress as blue or white.
Do I need to read posts from all of my over-sharing friends who love to update the world by the minute? Did I request the play-by-play of your brunch date with that cutie from logistics? I guess by signing up for Twitter, I signed some sort of agreement that I will be privy to every piece of information that any random friend decides to share – regardless if I asked or not.
Take my buddy; we’ll call him “Jake.” Jake loves to post on social media about 40 times a day. I know that I can hide his updates from my feed, but what if I miss something important? Take this morning’s updates for example:
At first these posts seemed menial, but then it hit me – Armani body wash could get me women. That is a great tip and something that I will be checking into. But for the most part, 99% of the people I follow either share too much about nothing, too much depressing shit or too much over the top, trying to make others jealous shit. How do you even know what’s real?
A recent study found that people who spend a lot of time on Facebook might actually become depressed from it. Since the majority of posts on your news feed are positive – say your best friend from middle school got engaged or the guy who sat behind you in that college seminar met Snoop Dogg – this may make you resentful of your shitty, unfulfilling life.
But the reality is that just because you see mostly positive news doesn’t mean that life is perfect for your friends. Who wants to post a photo of their recent grad school rejection letter or a tweet about their shitty first date with some random they met online? People want to spread the good news – and pretend the bad doesn’t exist. This discovery has led researchers to suggest people refrain from spending too much time online – unless you want to hate yourself.
Refrain from social media? Well sure, the idea sounds easy but for too many of us the power of FOMO is too strong. If you didn’t know, FOMO – or the fear of missing out – is a thing and it affects millions of Americans every year.
When someone experiences FOMO, it can be debilitating. What if something incredible happens, and you aren’t there to witness it? This is why your Facebook events often have a lot of “Maybe” RSVPs – people just cannot commit to anything. Oh, Jamie is having a Mad Men themed potluck? That sounds awesome! But say I go, and then see a tweet that Prince is throwing a secret show in my town? What am I supposed to do? That FOMO is just too strong.
Social media can be an awesome way to keep up with friends, family and celebrities – when it’s done in moderation. I am a believer in a new trending topic – I’m calling it #TBUP, short for think before u post. Wondering whether you should post that selfie on the party bus with the weird homeless guy? #TBUP. Thinking about tweeting that your baby just barfed everywhere? #TBUP. Found a photo of your boss in a compromising position? #TBUP.