How Social Media is Responsible in a Way of FOMO?

Dr Archi Dubey
The term FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out! FOMO is a phenomenon that has gained widespread attention in recent years (between 2000 to 2004) due to the increasing use of social media platforms. FOMO is characterized by a feeling of anxiety or insecurity that arises when one believes that they are missing out on a rewarding experience or opportunity. While FOMO is often associated with social media, it is a broader concept that has been studied in various contexts. After entry of numerous social media sites, the screen time of people has been tremendously increased. Thereafter, they are suffering from the fear of missing out, which increase the stress, anxiety, towards obsession of checking posts and documentations in social media.
FOMO is difficult to measure and define. The concept is highly subjective, and individuals may experience FOMO differently based on their personality, values, and social context. This makes it challenging to develop a standardized measure of FOMO, which can limit the comparability and generalizability of research findings.

Who are the sufferers?
The worst sufferer of FOMO are the youngsters but the person who is using the social media are equally prone to FOMO than the person who is not using that. The person which is using multiple social media at a time is more likely to be at risk and experience FOMO because he is open to watch the reels, status, pictures and videos uploaded by their social connections and often feel void when they are not confronted with the similar situations or lifestyles. These are principally the extrovert persons.
The person who is introvert and avoid meeting people publicly and social connections are disposed to the risk of FOMO since they use social media to side-step their loneliness.
FOMO can also impact adolescence in terms of their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Adolescents may compare themselves to others, particularly on social media, and feel inadequate or inferior if they perceive that others are having more exciting experiences or living more fulfilling lives. This can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. In conclusion, FOMO can have a significant impact on adolescence.
It is important for parents, teachers, and caregivers to help adolescents navigate this challenging time and provide support to help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence. Encouraging adolescents to engage in activities that they enjoy and value, rather than simply trying to keep up with their peers, can help them to feel more secure and confident in themselves.

How does it Works?

Social media can be a contributing factor to FOMO. Social media platforms are designed to showcase the highlights of people’s lives and often promote a culture of comparison.
When people post something on social media, they get positive feedback in the form of likes or comments or celebrations in one or other way, then they feel like rewarded. This increases their sense of belongingness towards social media and increase the tendency to repost. This is following the theory of reinforcement which explains that the likelihood of any action increases after getting positive rewards. It is also heading towards the compulsive behaviour of refreshing and checking phones again and again to check for new social connections and new posts, likes and comments in their posts.
Through social media people can virtually see the status of their connections, photos and updates, after watching the same they may suffer from fear of missing of those things from their lives. Contradictory to this if they are doing the similar things, they perceive that their belongingness towards that social media community get increased and they feel obsessed. They flaunt themselves in various ways to annoy others and content themselves with overscheduling in social media, this gives them a feeling of satisfaction.
Gradually people feel fatigued from social media after overscheduling there which results in various disarrays like depression, sleeping disorders, loss of appetite, lack of concentration etc. The use of their favourite social media to relief the stress after the work or for leisure make people even more anxious.
Every third teen feel worse if he/she spends more time in the social media. The more the time they spend on watching social media they feel more anxious about what others are doing in their life, how they are enjoying vacations. They keep an eye constantly on social media to stay connected with others. The teens define their lives based on what goes around the social media. When they compare their life with others, they feel a sense of inferiority complex, low self-esteem and low social rank. This feeling leads to mental health problems, social and physical complications as well. Frequently checking mobile phones for getting social media feeds results in distraction from the driving and studying.
It is believed that it is FOMO which carried the sustained popularity of social media further. Currently the teens are doing everything to post in their social media to get ample of likes and support. If they are successful in getting a capacious number of likes and comments, then they feel like conquering the mountain with a very high self-esteem. Subsequently, they keep on a check on the likes and comments, because again it gives rise to FOMO the likes and comments on their posts.
However, it is important to note that social media is not solely responsible for FOMO. FOMO can stem from a variety of factors, including societal pressures, peer pressure, and personal insecurities. Social media can simply amplify these feelings, making them more pervasive and difficult to escape.
Overall, while FOMO is a concept that has gained widespread attention, it remains a controversial and complex phenomenon. More research is needed to fully understand its effects on mental health and well-being, and to develop effective strategies for managing it. In the meantime, individuals can take steps to reduce the negative impact of FOMO on their lives, such as setting boundaries with social media use and focusing on their own values and goals.
That being said, it is important for individuals to be mindful of their social media use and how it may be impacting their mental health. Taking breaks from social media, setting boundaries around usage, and prioritizing offline activities and relationships can all help to alleviate the pressure of FOMO.
( Writer is Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management Studies, The ICFAI University, Raipur. Views are personal)

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