As serendipity often strikes randomly, I was reading an article in The New York Times by Jenna Wortham the other day at the same time I was reading the chapter in Sherry Turkle’s new book, Alone Together about people who fear they are missing out.
Teens and adults text while driving, because the possibility of a social connection is more important than their own lives (and the lives of others). They interrupt one call to take another, even when they don’t know who’s on the other line (but to be honest, we’ve been doing this for years before caller ID). They check their Twitter stream while on a date, because something more interesting or entertaining just might be happening.
It’s not “interruption,” it’s connection. But wait a minute… it’s not really “connection” either. It’s the potential for simply a different connection. It may be better, it may be worse — we just don’t know until we check.
We are so connected with one another through our Twitter streams and Foursquare check-ins, through our Facebook and LinkedIn updates, that we can’t just be alone anymore. The fear of missing out (FOMO) — on something more fun, on a social date that might just happen on the spur of the moment — is so intense, even when we’ve decided to disconnect, we still connect just once more, just to make sure.
Like the old-school Crackberry addict, we’re now all in the grip of “FOMO addiction” * — the fear of missing out on something or someone more interesting, exciting or better than what we’re currently doing.
Connected to this fear of missing out on something better that’s going on without you are these fake personas we promote on websites like Facebook. I say “fake” because we often present only the best side of our lives on social networking sites. After all, who wants to be “friends” with someone who’s always posting depressing status updates and who seems to be doing nothing interesting in their lives?
So they are indeed fake, because instead of us being...
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