I thought my stress would be gone once Christmas and gift buying was over. I was wrong. Instead I am bombarded daily with texts, emails, tweets,and Facebook messages from friends about New Years Eve plans. New York City or Boston? Bar or house party? Fancy or casual? Reservation or not? Overwhelmed does not even describe how I feel right now.
Finally, my plans have been finalized but some social stress remains. I took some time to think about it and I have found the root of my anxiety- its called FOMO( Fear of Missing Out). I most definitely have FOMO and its biggest instigator is social media in the palm of my hand. The best iPad app developers always look for ways to connect me further.
My friends live all over the East Coast. We all have busy lives. We work, some of us more than one job. We have family obligations, work out classes, errands. Indeed, there is a need for some social relief. But what happens when there a million different options, with a million different friends. How do you choose? How do you say no?
Until now, my answer to those questions have been, I haven’t, I don’t. I say yes to all invitations, end up spreading myself thin traveling to different cities, attending different parites. Why? Because the time I have said no, I am instantly made aware of the great time I am missing with uploads to Instagram, and check-ins on Facebook. It used to word of mouth. You would decline an invitation and weeks later you would heard the stories of the evening. Now those stories are in real time, and you are reminded every second on Twitter of the fun that you are missing out on as you sit on your couch with you cat.
So I have decided to make some changes in my social media habits as part of my new years resolution. No, I am not giving up facebook for a few months. ARE YOU CRAZY? but here is what I am going to do. I am disabling events I respond to on Facebook from coming up in my iPhone calendar. This way I am not THAT GIRL who declines the invite. But if it wasn’t important enough for me to physically ad to my calendar, that it is not the end of the world if I miss it. No one will notice I missed out on one happy hour meet up this week. I am going to unfollow certain people on Twitter. That guy from college that tweets every bar hes at and mentions everyone hes with has to go. If those people did not call to invite me, I should not feel I have to be there. I am also going to download apps to help keep me organzied like the Chase app so I know how much money I have to spend, and when I have the financial ability to say yes to the impromptu trip to Boston.
I love my smart phone. I love my iPhone apps. I couldnt live without them. But for once I am going to listen to my mother when she says “If I see that phone on at the dinner table, I am going to throw it out the window”. Well, I am not going to throw it out the window but maybe I will take a respite from how often I open those applications. I need some me time. I also said last year I would limit my intake of caffeine in 2012. I am sitting here with two empty Diet Coke cans and a coffee cup. Maybe my hope to rid myself of FOMO by limiting my mobile usage of social media is unrealistic. It probably is. But its worth a shot right?