by: the Common Constitutionalist
These days it seems most Americans have a Twitter or Facebook account – usually both. I don’t wish to offend but Twitter is just plain stupid. It’s merely a platform for most to “pop off” about something or someone. On occasion, it has its uses, like a breaking news event, but mostly its just nonsense. And it invariably gets people into a lot of trouble as it has no filter or send-time delay. Something idiotic pops into someone’s head, they type out their 140 characters and send. Within minutes they regret sending it. The only thing more absurd would be to have live Twitter feeds, where it is sent as you type.
Facebook does have its uses. Many, if not most businesses have some form of Facebook presence they find useful for communicating with customers, launching a new product, etc. Others, with personal accounts find it easier to share with family and friends. If one is smart and disciplined, Facebook is a great tool.
Then there are the not so smart and extremely undisciplined Facebook fanatics, who seem to live out their entire lives online. It’s an obsession to a growing number of people – mostly kids and younger adults, to stay in constant contact with their Facebook “friends.” And of course the more “friends” one has the cooler one must be. And everyone must be cool.
Facebook allows anyone to create an almost entirely false online persona – and more often than not that persona is one of 24/7 fun and frivolity. Rarely, if ever does anyone, particularly younger users, share anything but good news and fun on Facebook. When was the last time anyone shared the fact that they were just foreclosed on or lost their job or their health insurance due to Obamacare (had to get that in)? I would venture to say never. Why would they? The cool set doesn’t suffer those real life events.
And now, quite predictably, this virtual reality lifestyle is beginning to negatively affect some. The want-to-be cool kids have evidently developed and affliction and the psycho-babblers are calling it FoMO – Fear of Missing Out.
FoMO is defined as an, “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.” In other words, it’s the uneasy and often all-consuming sense that Facebook “friends” are having fun and rewarding experiences without you.
And indeed for kids and younger adults, who evidently have no other life, this affliction is real. The Daily Mail reported that there was even a study done in New Zealand at the University of Otago on 432 college students to measure their FoMO level – their anxiety level.
The researchers asked students how strongly they agreed with such statements as, “When I miss out on a planned get-together it bothers me,” and “I fear others have more rewarding experiences than me.” The more strongly they agree, the higher their FoMO score is.
Researchers also discovered these high FoMO kids drank more often in an effort to stay plugged into the phony party lifestyle. In an effort to be popular and gain or maintain social media relevance, these same kids admitted to taking “foolish risks when drinking, became rude or obnoxious”, and “drank alcohol on nights that they had not planned.”
If this all sounds rather pitiful – you’re not alone. But what else could we expect from kids who have grown up in an era where parents have coddled and shielded them from every negative life experience that may bruise their self-esteem.
We give out trophies just for showing up and bribe students to merely achieve a passing grade, while punishing the actual achievers. Then it’s off to college where their fragile self-esteem, which we parents created, is besieged by so called “hate speech” and “microaggressions.”
We parents have created a generation of hollow-souled young adults ill-equipped to deal with life, so in a search for relevance, to have their lives mean something, they attempt to fill the void by plugging into the phony life of virtual reality where they mistakenly believe that having thousands of Facebook “friends” will satisfy that need. But when reality runs head on into fantasy, they become FoMO kids – because there will always be someone with more “friends” and popularity than they.