Monday, April 01, 2013

No mo FOMO

I gave up social media for Holy Week. I got the idea from a book I was reading, although it's a fair depiction of how busy and distracted my head was that I can't remember which book, even after looking at my reading log. (I'm pretty sure it didn't come from here, or here.)

Anyway...the break was fabulous. I hadn't realized the extent to which I was escaping into my phone whenever life got dull or stressful. Or how hooked I'd gotten on having that little escape. Which is weird, because I don't think of my life as something I want to escape. I know this is a cliche, but now it's my cliche, so I'll share it: it felt good to focus on what was happening right here in front of me, rather than all of the articles and memes and political angst swirling around the World Wide Web.

Yesterday, celebrating Easter, our pastor talked about FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. It made me think about how that plays out in my life. I get a little panicky when I realize that I'm not on the schedule I set for myself four years ago for book writing (although I have three books that are about 2/3 done, so 2015 could be a banner year! Or so I tell myself...)  I looked down this morning and realized that my favorite jeans have been through the laundry so many times that "acid washed" is the most apt description, so clearly I'm missing out on some key fashion cues. But overall, life is good. Simple in some ways,  complex in others, not at all what we expected. But full and good.

Then comes Facebook. That is the center of my FOMO.  I don't struggle with envy (except for those of you who live in climates where you're already wearing flip flops...I envy you a little). But I fear missing out on ideas and cool conversations: updates from people I love, new book recommendations, articles that make me think or laugh. I love the connections and sharing.  But I wish I could get all of that without scrolling through three dozen faux-post ads about eyelash growth or those motivational pictures that don't motivate me.

I'm not sure what to do with Facebook now that Holy Week is over. Any suggestions? How do you handle social media and still stay focused on the part of the world where you live your actual life?


Abby Green said...

Oh FOMO, what a wonderful little acronym/phrase. I say "just quit it" to facebook. I quit last feb (2012) and probably continued to have a little FOMO until a few months ago, but truthfully...I'm far more thankful for that time I have gained back than anything I missed out on. And I guess with that said, did I really miss out on anything then? Or is facebook taking us away from missing out on life? Hmmmmm..... ;)

Jo Hunter Adams said...

It'll be good to hear the message when it comes online (I'm a Boston Vineyarder now living in Cape Town)! I also really like/d parts of Facebook, and wasn't ready to delete my account entirely, but I wasn't happy with the extent that I had this little routine every time i opened my computer: gmail, google reader, facebook.

I usually give up Facebook during the Leap of Faith, and it's always great, but involves more self-control than I would like. This year, starting a little earlier than lent, I asked my husband to change the password, and it's been really, really good. I didn't have a strict fast, but it was no longer something I looked at very frequently because it involved an actual decision to look. So I'm asking him to keep the password, at least for the now. And with Google Reader closing, it'll just be my email addiction!

Catherine C said...

Last week I toured the Nazi Party rally grounds in Nuremburg, where the Nazis held rallies of 50,000 people at a time. The size of the buildings and open-air rally grounds was mind-boggling. The museum made the point that the architecture was designed to make the participant feel part of a grand, massive movement and at the same time personally insignificant. It was all part of Nazi brainwashing.

To be honest, I see strange similarities in Facebook (though I don't believe this was Mark Zuckerberg's intention), albeit in a different fashion. I've been on Facebook five years, and during that time I have become connected with far more facets of society than ever before, making me feel like I'm part of a national or global community that actually has some value as a community (which is debatable). At the same time, I have increasingly felt as though my "voice" has grown more and more insignificant, drowned out by the voice of the "Facebook community" as everyone sees which side in every debate can hit the Share button the fastest.

I'm leaving Facebook, not because of this but out of moral objection to some Facebook (the company) activities. But I look forward to the peace and quiet, and the opportunity to refocus my time and attention on the community of people around me with whom I have much greater influence and the opportunity to share love.