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Good luck keeping up with the Jones’ on Facebook March 16, 2011

Posted by Graham Sumioka in General.

I recently read a post by Caterina Fake that addresses the topic of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and social media. Her primary contention is that social media exacerbates this problem by constantly updating people with the parties, games, and trips that they are missing out on. Your friends were of course doing all of this before, but what you didn’t know didn’t hurt you.

I of course don’t know who you are friends with on Facebook, but I just did a quick poll on my newsfeed of non-commercial entities and counted 26 distinctly positive posts vs. only 6 negative ones (and negative is probably too strong a word). So for each post that whines a bit about a long day stuck at the airport, there is a picture about the crazy costume party from last weekend, the check-in at the trendy new bar down the street, a countdown to the weeklong trip to a sunny beach resort, and a new toy recently purchased (guilty). This isn’t a huge surprise to me as it seems to be a kind of unwritten rule that FB isn’t the place to complain too much, but I can’t help but wonder if the constant stream of restaurants, parties, and vacations makes it seem as if “everyone” is having more fun than you.

The same goes for businesses. Online interactions are great and can drive serious business, but meaningful ‘in person’ relationships should not be sacrificed along the way. Trying to keep up with your newsfeed on Facebook will only prevent you from having genuine interactions with those around you. I’m not advocating that you stop using social media; I’m simply suggesting that we all put forth the effort for those casual chats at that fun little coffee shop that is just down the street from all of us.


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