I struggle with social media. I used to spend sequential hours sitting and scrolling. I wasn’t looking for anything or anyone in particular. I thought it was just something to do.
But it wasn’t because I didn’t have other things to do. I recently realized my motivation was FOMO. Fear of missing out on anything, and I mean anything.
I didn’t want to miss out on the classics:
Hey, he got that job.
She finally completed her project.
Aw, they’ve just had their anniversary.
Seeing those life updates is nice. I’m happy to see other’s happiness. But it also means I’m seeing the updates that don’t make me happy, even if it makes others happy:
Wait, why wasn’t I invited to this party?
She always looks pretty. It looks so effortless for her.
I didn’t know those two were such. Close. Friends??
I don’t have the Facebook or Twitter apps on my phone. (I can still access my accounts on my laptop or mobile browser, but lack of immediate access keeps me away.) I’ve kept Instagram and Snapchat because I actively engage with them the most. But those two are the most insidious platforms. The most heavily curated ones.
With Snapchat, I absorb the images to see what I’m missing out on: a study session, party, lunch date. With Instagram, I can get lost in profiles or tags. I need to know what people’s lives are like, even if I don’t know them personally. I even get lost in bullet journal profiles. (I absolutely cannot miss the holy grail weekly layout that will change my #plannerlife forever.)
I believe that everyone can control how they use their emotions. Not controlling the emotion itself, but controlling how they use it. Jealousy or feelings of inferiority from social media are lessons in patience and self-love. Lessons, but sometimes painful ones.
The traditional wisdom is to delete everything. Avoid it all. The “social media detox”. Live my own life with no thought of others’. I don’t think I want that.
The alternative is to get over it. Keep my accounts and apps, but don’t let FOMO get to me. Live my own life next to others’. I don’t know if that’s for me either.
So I’m stuck. I connect in meaningful ways on social media, but it can become such a toxic space for me. I don’t know whether to learn to stay away or learn to stay present.