I’m not one to talk personally, but everywhere you look people are completely fixated with some form of social media technology, more often than not a smartphone. Whether they are liking, sharing, chatting, checking or stalking – people simply can not get enough of it. With smartphone users expected to tickle 1.75 billion at some point this year that’s a lot of chins against their chests and sore thumbs. This sort of behaviour is far too common with friends whilst at dinner or at a bar, with four out of five twiddling through their newsfeed, worrying that someone somewhere is having more fun than them and publicising it live for all to see.
This act has come to be known as ‘nocialising’, and is a punishable offence in the eyes of my mother or father.
Nocialising extends from a greater issue: FOMO. The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is one that has established itself within Gen X and Y does not seem to be going anywhere soon. Sure, being worried about missing out on some fun with friends is no new phenomenon, however with the window of social opportunity left open by Facebook, Instagram and others like them not closing anytime soon, it appears there might be a problem on our hands. So much so that a research team was recently established by Dr. Andy Przybylski from the University of Oxford.
You can even take part and check in with your own FOMO levels at www.ratemyfomo.com
Missing out on activities with friends doesn’t seem to be a fear for everyone though, some might have a desire to do so. Recently, an app named Cloak was released which allowed users to effectively avoid anyone they did not desire to see by hooking into Foursquare check-ins and notify the user when someone was getting that bit too close. This is an example of how immersed in the online the world everyone is, and it makes me wonder if we weren’t looking at our feet we might see the person we don’t like before our network does.
At the end of the day, social media is in no way a bad thing, it has allowed people to connect that previously would never have been presented the opportunity, it facilitates communication and encourages learning. We now live in age where we have fingertip access to more information than ever thought possible. Just don’t take part in an endless quest for knowledge whist having dinner with your mum.