Imagine waking up tomorrow and discovering Facebook didn’t exist. Would you miss it?
And what if Twitter simply ceased overnight?
Would you really miss those pointless, irrelevant rows with moon howling idiots who seem to spend every waking minute looking for a tweet that offends them?
The App Generation would be horrified at not being able to like pictures of their pals’ tea or share some witless fortune cookie nonsense dressed us as motivational mumbo-jumbo.
But, the more time I spend on social media – personally and professionally – the more I wonder if it’s really worth it.
The days when we spent hours building our own perfect agricultural kingdoms on Farmville feel so old hat, and incredibly innocent.
An image of my farm popped up on my memories – or the ones Facebook algorithms want you to share, including pics of loved ones who have died and people no longer in your life, sensitive and upsetting stuff that never quite pierces the soul of the company, possibly because it has none.
Farmville was nine years ago. Like most social media fads it didn’t last longer than a Scottish football team in Europe.
Today, Farmville seems as antiquated as Etch-A-Sketch as social media seeps into every aspect of our lives.
We eat out and the first thing we do is check in to let folk know where we are.
Our food arrives and we take a picture to share on Instagram, and we leave a review even before the meal has been fully digested.
We are online even before fully enjoying the event or meet-up in real life.
Social media and smart phones have combined to change almost everything about how we lcommunicate. One study reckons we tap or swipe an app over 2600 times a day. We do it robotically; a quick check to see what’s going on in case we’ve missed something.
Welcome to FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out.
It may not be a full-blown addiction, but it is certainly a compulsion. We all do it.
We can rail against Facebook and Twitter as businesses – and their failings are pitiful when it comes to the abuse and the trolling, truly pitiful – but responsibility for becoming sheep lies entirely with us.
So much on social media is just froth, and yet we soak it up.
But we also share stuff that is damaging and irresponsible. Posts that name and shame people are routinely plastered across my timeline; the myths of the bogey man in the white van, child abductions and dog stealing go round in pointless circles. I block them all.
I saw one comment last week suggesting FOMO needs to become JOMO – the Joy of Missing Out.
Stop spreading the dross, and focus on what really matters to you – people you know, the moments you share with them, and the joy of living.
Use your phone to capture moments, but also enjoy them in real time – open your eyes and your heart and you will have memories that last much longer than any social media platform. Life is for living, rather than liking and sharing.