Social Media’s Fear of Missing Out

By Thalita Bianda Siregar

The presence of social media has made many big differences in our lives. Its main functions of usage lead to nothing but encumbrance and several detriments.

Addiction to social media arises day by day. The newly and timeliness that social media offers to its users has created a new habitual routine. The need to keep updated drives users to check it in a high frequency of time that is called FOMO which is abbreviated as “Fear of Missing Out”.

Checking our smartphones as the first thing we do once we wake up seems to have been subliminally planted in our minds. The feeling of curiosity of what we miss when we are falling asleep triggers us to straight away check our gadgets. A research conducted by IDC (International Data Corporation) Research found that 80% of people directly check their smartphone after they wake up. This habit that is suffered by almost all people has become a distraction due to the fact that social media is made to be as attractive as it seems. The timeliness of information and updates of what is going on around the world attracts us to stay connected longer and longer. In fact, those updates are stored as an archival. Because of the fear of missing out, we waste our times in checking something that can be checked later on.

This strengthens the notion that social media has negative effect on users. The great exposure of recent updates on social media that creates the FOMO symptom also influences the users to imitate the trend that is so nowadays. For example, Cara Delevigne and her thick eyebrows are a trend that has affected millions of girls. With her publicity as a model that is widely exposed, her style is imitated. Because of the fear of missing out that the girls feared of, the purchase of eyebrow products has increased. Before Cara publicises this trend, back in 1980, an actress named Brooke Shield had popularised the thick eyebrows but as time goes on, the thick eyebrows no longer become a makeup benchmark. Nonetheless, majority of professional makeup artists state that thick eyebrows are not applicable to every characteristic of facial proportion. It shows that social media showcases only to please the craving of current things apart from its side impacts.

The functions of social media that accommodates its users to bring about widely ‘what, why, where, with who the users are doing are up to be noticed. This is already unconsciously being an obsession of the social media users to know what other people are up to and live the life as the trend creates in order to stay engaged in the social media circle.

The obsession that forcefully possesses the social media users to keep online is experienced dominantly by the youth. Teenagers especially find it as a misery to stay away from their phone. It is impossible for them not to check their phone regularly within dozens of minutes. They are often stuck in the middle of doing assignment because the recent updates on Facebook may attract them more than the assignment deadline.

In their young age, teenagers like to share what they are up to by posting it in their self-owned social media accounts and expect to be responded by their friends. The number of likes and comments are counted as how attractive and interesting their posts are. For instance, after posting a photo on Instagram, a teenager keeps entering his/her posting to see how many likes he/she received. The more number of likes he/she gets, the more pride it means to him/her. This also indicates that social media make the users to compete with one and another in terms of who is more standing out in the social media. Again, this is the effect of FOMO.

Furthermore, teenagers tend to hang out and they are more comfortable to be around their friends. But then, since the appearance of social media conquers, teenagers do so in the other way around by interacting separately in different space. Although they are not completely leaving behind their “real life” and still hanging out with their friends or family, it still feels irritating when someone is busied by his/her phone. Being distracted by the notifications that alarm them to be quickly responded is often found to interfere with the quality time of being around their loved ones.

Responding to one and another in social media is likely to be a compulsion. That is considered as one thing that keeps you updated. Owing to that, people keep engaging online and generate another dangerous effect: a lack of verbal communication.

Yes, it is. The lack of verbal communication increases for the reason that it gives more confidence to say things that will not be conveyed in person. Using harsh words in replying texts or comments or even to address someone is unethical. Trolls or cyberbullying is one of the dangerous impacts where someone starts inflaming one to bully another person. The excitement of being in social media sometimes prompts us to forget behaving ethically. It appears to be hard for youngsters not to curse because they think it is fine as long as they do not do it to the elderly.

It is inevitable that social media is one big part of our lives. Spending most of the times in social media cannot be resisted. Aside from the FOMO symptom, social media begins to lead to other types of impacts. The usage of social media that seems to have so many demerits can be spin. For people nowadays, especially students, is comprehensible. Social media can be a platform for students to communicate with friends and family in a distance. The use of social media here can turn to be merits in many ways.


Start to limit the quantity of social media you have by removing the less beneficial ones. Keep the social media applications that benefit you more. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites that help and enhance you in your working or student life. It is also important to note to limit the time usage online and postings.


Try to filter who are the people in your friends’ list. Make your social media networking sites’ scope to be more private can make you stay focus since you already know mostly what your friends or closest ones are doing, it can reduce your curiosity to keep entering the social media timeline. In addition, it is better to have prominent figures, broadcast news, and knowledgeable accounts to follow. To give one example, by following @BBCBreaking on Twitter, we are exposed to the breaking news happening in time. BBC also has an Instagram account that identified as @BBCNEWS which frequently posts photos and short videos of facts and useful information.


All in all, despite of the two ways above, pull yourself altogether to prioritise the use of your social media that you have. Although you have reduced the number of accounts on many social sites you have and filtered the friends you have, keep in mind your priority. Try to open your social sites when it is needed. Moreover, try to prioritise the main usage of it as ways for enhancing you to achieve your goals. Try to make Facebook as a platform to be your study group platform as you and your group members cannot be always united in place and time.

Our lives are more precious than you can ever imagine if you give it a chance to be appreciated. Tons of likes and comments on your single photo on Instagram means nothing compared to what you have been through in your life. Sign out from those social media accounts you have for a while and enjoy your real life around!***

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