In an age where technology has changed the course of human existence, there is no doubt that social media has played catalyst in influencing lives in the most dynamic manner. Whether it’s one’s expression of emotions or just simply creating an impactful awareness, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have greatly contributed in giving unnoticed talent, rapid exposure and digital fame. However, the excessive use of social media, has made an increasing number of influencers, isolate themselves from these networks, in an attempt to regain a sense of identity and battle a dangerous psychological concept called FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out.
Time and again, social media has lent itself as an incredible tool of change. However, through every aspect of trying to bring about a change, there are more than a handful who feel that the widespread indulgence of such mediums, has begun to take a psychological toll on their lives. Whether it is the impulsive decision to inform the world about the restaurant you’re eating at, or an event you’re covering as the host, the constant need to put out parts of one’s daily activity in the public eye, is where social media hampers the preservation of identity.
Most well-known actors and famous artists have a strong social media presence, with the sole purpose of interacting with their fans from across the globe. However, with fame comes the ability to receive criticism and get trolled for the things that celebrities sometimes say. Well known Indian filmmaker Karan Johar, who openly came out as being Gay, recently spoke to a leading Indian newspaper – India Today, where he said “Initially when I used to get trolled, I used to deal with it by being upset and angry. Then it went into a state of indifference, because I was like, I can’t let this get to me. Now, I am in a state of glorious amusement. Every morning I wake up to abuse, and it amuses me.
A rapid increase of social media influencers, has escalated to a whole new level in the last 7-8 years. The content being put out on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, is very much with the intention of garnering a huge digital presence through likes and follows. This urge to constantly seek some sort of moral validation, leads to a significant amount of anxiety and FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. The Teen Vogue, an online magazine that primarily discusses fashion and current affairs, recently said that FOMO has been declared as an official word by the Webster dictionary, amidst other 1400 new words. The connotation that the dictionary puts across, suggests the anxiety and panic that it causes.
The compulsion to put yourself out there, has led to bloggers experiencing anxiety. I recently spoke to a Mumbai based blogger and influencer, who said “Being a fashion blogger, I have been using social media compulsively due to fear of missing out, which one at one point lead to anxiety.” While it’s necessary to be rigorous to an extent, the excessive proximity to a social media platform takes away the pleasure of engaging in real time conversations. The virtual reality influence is far too deep for one to not call it an obsession or an addiction of sorts, if living through an Instagram image or a retweet, is all that you’re really doing. The significant growth of a digital presence is not taking a back seat anytime soon. Therefore, having the right balance is key in attempting to maintain some sort of self-preservation. When speaking with the influencer, she stated, “I took a break from social media and called it a digital detox to relax my mind and face the real world.”
The challenge to remain real and feel closest to your own identity, has become a virtue to harness in recent years. However, it brings about a fundamental question to the forefront – How much of your own self are you willing to put out there for the world to see, at the cost of letting it affect you psychologically? A digital detox to experience life’s finest moments, is an approach that I would most certainly endorse. The least and the best it would do, is put you back in touch with yourself.