Wed, 04/13/2011 - 01:41 pm PST by Christy McCreath
I have no shame. I'll come right out and say it: I spend at least four hours per day on Facebook (to be fair, I do manage Facebook brand pages as part of my job). I can honestly admit that given the amount of time I spend on the social networking site, I rarely get sick of it. I find numerous benefits to Facebook, such as being able to get the latest news right away, being cheered up by links to pictures of animals dressed up in cute outfits, and reading funny status updates that literally make me LOL. Oh, and on a more serious note, I truly believe that Facebook can be used to create deeper connections with friends, family members and co-workers.
It's not just rainbows and sunshine with Facebook, though. I have seen the darker side of social networking sites … and I'm glad there's finally a term for it: FOMO, or "fear of missing out." According to a recent article I read in NY Times, FOMO "refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram."
Have you suffered from FOMO? I think we've all been there before. We're happily going about our day, and then we get a Facebook check-in notification that a group of close friends are gathering at a nearby bar and we were NOT invited – bam, we feel like instant losers! Or say you live a modest lifestyle in an inexpensive apartment, and you see your friends on Facebook living extravagant lifestyles and can comfortably afford expensive mortgages. Does it make you feel like you're missing out? Do these glimpses into other people's fun and exciting lives make you feel inadequate and anxious?
I have personally had feelings of FOMO. I've had Saturday nights ruined when I found out on Facebook that my friends were having a better time out and about than I was at home. I have also been on the other end, though. Friends have confronted me and have told me that my positive updates were making them feel left out. My innocent posts about being at brunch with eight others, or partying at cabin with close friends, have certainly negatively affected friends of mine. Knowing this has certainly made me think twice about what and when I'm posting. Since the confronations, I've been abiding more closely to DailyHoroscope.com's Karmic Law No. 8, “Give It a Rest.”
So ... have you ever felt like a Facebook wallflower? Do status updates, photos and check-ins from your social network make you ever feel left out? Share your thoughts on this subject!