Get ready to feel where it hurts!
Tell me how's your day faring? Have you already began feeling a little lost looking at the pictures of that 'Facebook friend' holidaying in Miami? That 'Wanderlusting Something' stranger you follow on Instagram has just spent a day in Italy and looks like a mediterranean food connoisseur already. Is it confusing you? Let me break it to you that it's confusing everyone.
Social Media, FOMO And Our Envious Hearts.
We are all a part of the most documented generation ever. All social media channels are competing to showcase our everyday lives in the most consumer-friendly manner. Your social media profiles are termed as your 'online presence' and we are all competitors trying to be better at the game.
Analyzing 'travel' as a theme in the same social media ball game, it's a general feeling that people who travel more have a better control over their lives. In times like these when the average number of holidays in a month in Indian corporates range from 1.5 to 2 days, it's unimaginable to think how people manage to get out of the rut, follow their passion and most importantly, document them on social media. The fear of missing out (FOMO) among young individuals becomes immense especially when the entire generation is hooked on to social media 24X7 where the battle is on every hour.
The Myopic Views Of Each Other's Lives
What's posted on social media is a carefully chosen aspect of reality that's appropriate to be seen. The picture-perfect moments posted by travel bloggers have a long history that is mostly omitted in the process of selective documentation. What we show is only a miniscule fragment of what we experience. At times the honest objective is to give out information about places but the reaction of the viewers is mostly focused on individual feats.
Your FOMO Is Your Own Pet Monster
Your FOMO is your unrealistic desire to be present everywhere and experience everything under the sun. To do it is as unrealistic as it sounds. You might be able to view everything on the small gadget that doesn't leave your sight for a second but you don't know what you don't see.
When someone travels, you read their stories, you see the smiling faces on Instagram, you even see every single exciting meal on their table but what's missed is the history behind it all. You don't know the work deadlines these travellers are missing, the unread mails on their mail box that need to be managed, the mental breakdowns that come with living in a city that bores you to death, the pressures of not having a permanent job or the relationships that suffer while they live a life of travel.
We all have our own battlefields. Your responsibilities are different from mine. Your achievements are different from mine. The fear of missing out is a monster in your head constantly fed by the myopic images and stories of personal celebration on social media.
Coping With The Pretense On Social Media Around Travel
It's important to assess what you do not see. To grasp images on social media on face value is the first mistake in the series of errors that shadow our perspectives. Some travel stories can be closer to fiction than reality. Pictures are photoshopped, stories are retold with edits and bloggers keep their personal worries aside when they pose for that picture-perfect moment that creeps in time and again on to your newsfeed.
While handling our immature relationship with technology, it's important to give real life a chance.
Also, it's important to understand that beyond the impulsive need to document everything, it's more important to be in present and live it to the fullest. Texting while having a conversation is no longer considered rude. Shelly Turkle in her book Alone Together aptly describes the shortcomings of our technology-dominated lives. As a subtitle to the book, she states, "Why We Expect More From Technology And Less From Each Other?"
By now, most of us have become fantastic social media jugglers.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and three email ids, we have perfect rational reasons for each of our social media avatars and so does every one. Come to think of it, that's where the problem stems from, WE ALL GET IT, WHY? It's the constant need to be aware of what's happening in other people's lives and they are not just the people we know.
FOMO creeps in gradually when the need to stay connected to the world becomes an interruption in living your own life. Social media is constantly feeding you unrealistic goals to live your life.
Come to think of it, what do you even fear? The fear of missing an experience which does not fit in to your life plan. Your goals are different, you can't be cruising in the Arctic when you are working towards a career that promises much more than 2 instagram posts and a 2 second shout on snapchat. There are bigger monsters waiting to be fought in real life that require you to stop scrolling your newsfeed and get back to work.