My Facebook account has been around since 2007, wrote my first tweet in 2008, created my first Instagram account in 2012 and sent my first snap in 2013. There was one motive behind all of these actions. I did not want to miss out. My friends were on all of these social media platforms. I felt as though if I was not on these sites then I would be missing out on what my friends were doing. My expectation was that with social media I would feel kept in the loop and would have no fear of missing out (or FOMO as they call it at BC sometimes).
For a while that may have been true. Facebook became a way of contact between my friends and I when we weren’t in school. Unlimited text messaging was not part of my family plan so it became Facebook became a better source of communication. I would only use Facebook as a means to communicate or write silly statuses. Then Twitter cam along. I started write those same silly statuses but this times they were tweets. Instead of using it as a communication source it was more of a way to stay up to date on the news and what was happening with celebrities. Twitter is how I found out Michael Jackson was dead. Instead of watching the news, which no young child really does, I could just pop on to my social media site to see if anything important was happening.
Instagram was a place to post those silly selfies you took during class while you should have been paying attention. It was all about the filter and the caption. Snapchat was a distraction during class. While I probably shouldn’t admit this, all my friends and I would just Snapchat each other constantly during class-that’s what happens when you give high schoolers Ipads to take notes in. Both of these just added to the feeling that you were not missing out on anything. This could mean I was not in the same 3rd period class as my best friend but I still felt like I was because I got constant photo updates.
I have learned that social media can often do the exact option. Photos, statuses and videos of a bunch of people having fun without you, can often make you feel left out. Without these social media sites there would be no way of knowing what you were missing. But now the photos are literally in your face. You can’t ignore them without avoiding the websites all together. Part of this is from the video aspect of most of these sites now. Videos seem harder to fake when they seem ‘live’. Such as Facebook live and Snapchat videos. While these videos could make some feel as though you are there, that can actually make you feel more left out. This feeling of being left out is awful. It is especially awful when you get that feeling from a site- not even a person.
I have slowly learned that all of these social platforms must be used with caution. Yes, they can be a great way to communicate. Yes, they can be a great way to find out news sometimes. Yes, they are great for looking at friend’s photos. But if you use social media too much or think too deeply about it, social media can really bring one down. My intentions with social media have turned to a more internal, personal thing. I use Facebook to keep track of my old friends, save photos and communicate with my friends half way around the world. I use Instagram to post happy birthday messages with a photo for my friends. I use Snapchat to make videos that I think are funny- in reality no one else probably does but that is fine by me! By switching my motives and my usage of social media, I have been able to enjoy it even more so. Instead of using these sites for other, I’m using it for my own benefit. I have learned that social media can also have benefits when it comes to career searching. I have been able to look into companies on Facebook to see if I would be interested in working for that specific company. I can see if that company vibe seems something I would fit in with. Often times these companies’ have videos of what the culture is like, great employees and fun facts. This allows me to have a little snippet of the companies I may be interest in without having to search that hard for it.
I truly wish I had found the internal benefits of social media before. This would of allowed me to have a lot less FOMO and a lot more productivity.