How FOMO and Infomania Are Affecting Our Lives in the Social Media Era

  Yesterday afternoon and evening, my circle of friends was occupied by blurry photos that can only be opened by giving red envelopes – I myself was not to be outdone and posted a photo of Sansu’s legs.
  When you clicked on the first blurry photo in your circle of friends, it was probably out of curiosity. Then, you may also try to come up with a wonderful picture copy (not as cliché as the “leg photo”) to attract others to click on the red envelope. After a few minutes, there will be nothing left on your screen except those hazy photos.
  Have you ever thought about what attracts us to keep swiping the screen and competing to participate in every hot spot?
  In the Western world, there has been a term to describe this behavior in recent years – FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which means “fear of missing out” and was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. It refers to the fear of missing out on things that happen on social media (such as events and gossip), resulting in anxiety and annoyance.
  Andy Przybylski, the original researcher of FOMO and professor at Oxford University, believes that FOMO is not a new phenomenon, but social media makes it easier for us to perceive the lives of others – not only more real-time, but we will see it on different social platforms Some people post over and over again, making it impossible to ignore. Therefore, the phenomenon of FOMO has become more and more prominent and has become a modern disease of modern people. Today let’s talk about: What kind of psychology is behind FOMO? Is it good or bad for our lives?
Infomania: Why do we like to live a multitasking life?

  Infomania, translated as “information addiction” or “information obsessive-compulsive disorder”, is a concept closely related to FOMO. It says that we don’t want to miss out on any information we can receive, so we can’t help but check our phones and computers all day long. We are afraid of being discovered and saying “I have never seen/heard/never seen this thing”.
  This concept was proposed by Elizabeth Ferrarini in 1984. At that time, email was just emerging. Ferrarini believed that the information fragmentation brought by email made some people become “information addicts”: they were unwilling to miss the information of every email and wanted to be able to reply to all emails as soon as possible. She believes that this makes the boundaries between work time and leisure time begin to blur, and it seems difficult for us to distinguish between “on work” and “off work” as before.
  But Infomania has received more attention and research also in the mobile social era. The result of the popularization of smartphones is that “distraction” is becoming more and more possible. We hold mobile phones almost all the time, and are used to having conference calls while browsing news on our mobile phones; while listening to the boss While giving lectures, he secretly searched for treasures.
  But the psychological power of information addiction doesn’t end there. Sherry Turkle, the author of “Alone Together”, believes that the reason why we enjoy a “multi-threaded” life every moment is influenced by the “Goldilocks principle”. There is a fairy tale called “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. In this fairy tale, Goldilocks accidentally entered the bear’s house and found that there were three beds. She couldn’t decide which one to sleep on, so she slept in all three beds in turn. I checked it out and found the smallest one that suits me best. The Goldilocks Principle was later used to refer to our desire to be in a state of “just right” with no more and no less. In relationships, we want to be with the person here but also elsewhere; giving neither too much nor too little attention to each aspect. The essence of this state is our desire for control. “I will not focus too much on a certain relationship. I have many escape routes at any time.” It is such a sense of security.
  Many of us don’t see anything wrong with this and are even proud of our ability to “multi-task”. But is “distraction” really better?
  In 2005, Hewlett Packard published a controversial study in the UK in which 1,100 infophilic subjects checked emails and messages all the time, including during phone calls, meetings and meals. The results show that information addiction not only reduces work efficiency, but also worsens sleep problems. The IQ also drops by an average of 10 points. Researchers believe that information addiction has a greater impact on intelligence than marijuana.
  Professor Sophie Leroy of the University of Minnesota conducted a study on people who are accustomed to multi-threading. In her experiment, she found that compared with those who put down their mobile phones for a period of time, did not check messages and emails, and concentrated on a certain task, they were more Threads will actually work less efficiently.
  She believes that this is because people who switch between different tasks stop thinking about an unfinished task and start another task (even if you just glance at the pop-up news on your mobile phone) There will always be the problem of attention residue (attention residue), that is, when starting a new thing, there is still a part of the attention in our minds allocated to the previous task. This is why if you can’t help but check your phone when you should be crossing the road or driving attentively, you are more likely to have an accident, because this will reduce the efficiency of your attention.
  By now you should have understood that a life of multitasking is not a good one.
What is it that we are afraid of missing out on?

  So, what are we afraid of missing when we keep scrolling?
  Andy Przybylski believes that we are afraid of missing out on more possibilities contained in the “unknown”, afraid of missing out on the latest and most interesting news, or missing out on the possibility of interacting with people. It’s like in the process of answering a phone call, if a new call comes in, we can’t help but pause the call and switch to the new incoming call, because the information contained in that incoming call is unknown. The same is true for the circle of friends. The news that has not been checked and the hot spots that have not been followed are all unknown. We subconsciously feel that maybe starting from a status or a message, we may encounter job opportunities and life partners, which can make people happy. Your life becomes better than it is now.
  Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology at Duke University, said that on the other hand, FOMO also stems from a kind of panic in our hearts: fear that we have made the wrong choice in arranging our leisure time, and thus live a less colorful life than others. . So we would say that during the statutory holidays, if we don’t have many travel photos with blue sky and white clouds, we are “too embarrassed to post them on WeChat Moments.”
  But actually, what is “correct timing”? After a hard week of work, you decide to give up attending a party and sit on the sofa at home to watch a show. As a result, you accidentally see a photo of the party in your circle of friends and immediately feel that you have wasted a weekend. But maybe, you choose to go on a trip, only to find that a new drama is on air this week, and everyone is talking about it at work, and you will regret that you did not keep up with the topic. It seems that no matter what, you are not so easy to be happy.
  Dan Ariely said that because social media makes it easier to obtain information and puts you closer to the information, it can make you more panicked. Compared with the era when it was difficult to obtain information, it is like missing a plane that is two minutes late and missing a plane that is two hours late. A two-minute miss will make people regret much more, “because you will feel that you are not in a hurry.” The difference between getting on the plane is just a little bit.” Dan Ariely said that many times, the regrets caused by the information obtained in the circle of friends are this small but strong feeling of regret.
Moments make it harder for us to be happy

  When Sherry Turkle gave her first TED talk in 1996, her title was “Celebrating Our Lives on the Internet,” but now she believes the Internet is “taking us to places we don’t want to go.”
  She believes that social media creates three illusions in us:
  1. We will receive attention in any situation;
  2. We can always be heard;
  3. We never have to be alone.
  And these fantasies are making it increasingly difficult for us to be happy. This is first of all because when we feel that we are being noticed and noticed, we will pay more attention to our self-image and strengthen our comparison with others.
  Social psychologist Leon Festinger’s social comparison theory believes that people are born with the desire to evaluate themselves and need to rely on external feedback to maintain a stable and accurate self-image. Even if there are quantitative indicators, people tend to evaluate themselves by comparing themselves with others.
  And when we compare, most of the time we are not accepting real judgment, but comparing unconsciously and selectively. When they need to see their positive side and improve their self-confidence, they will consciously compare with people who are worse (downward comparison); when they need to motivate themselves and improve themselves, they will compare with people who are better than themselves (upward comparison). Compare). Under normal circumstances, it is healthiest to compare yourself with those who are “slightly better than yourself.”
  The emergence of social media not only makes such comparisons more frequent, but more importantly, we cannot choose suitable comparison candidates in the circle of friends. Instead, we can only passively accept the positive and perfect self-image of others (displayed in the circle of friends). ), and consciously or unconsciously, evaluate the real self with this excessive comparison standard. As a result, we can easily develop a negative self-awareness.
  And those who only share cool things in their circle of friends also have their own anxieties. People who deepen their self-affirmation through status and photos they post are often vulnerable in reality. Those beautiful photos and status are a means for them to build a good self-image, making them feel that they are valuable and good. Over time, he will tend to believe that his perfect self is his real self.
  In November 2015, Essena O’Neill, an 18-year-old Australian Internet celebrity girl, announced her withdrawal from social networks, clearing out her Instagram with 570,000 fans and YouTube with 250,000 fans (although this behavior was later questioned as hype). She began to add annotations to old photos from the past three years:
  ”The bikini photos are as natural as snapshots. In fact, I was trying to shrink my belly, twist my body, and squeeze my breasts.” “I
  didn’t eat all day and took more than 100 photos. There is only one photo without a belly.”
  ”When I took this photo, I put on makeup, curled my hair, wore tight clothes, and a very uncomfortable necklace. It took 50 photos to pick out the best one. Please click on it. Like it.”
  She uploaded a new video on YouTube called “I’m not who you think I am.”
  In Festinger’s theory, this is because in comparison, the more the party in a favorable position has, the more afraid it is of losing its existing position. Just like those who originally ranked higher are more afraid of failing in the exam. So, if you really feel like you’re not that great, you might be able to live a happier life.
  Sherry Turkle said that our use of social media and the understanding and maintenance of relationships formed on social media are still in its infancy. We don’t really know how to interact with people intentionally and meaningfully. It’s like whenever new things (such as computers and the Internet) appear, we are always dazzled because we cannot fully control them, but are controlled by them.
  Therefore, people are slowly losing some basic communication skills. Many people prefer to communicate through text messages and emails, because when talking face to face, they cannot edit what they say, and therefore “cannot show what I want to show to others.” one side”. Fragmented communication through text messages and emails, although the words have been carefully edited, have lost the ability to truly understand each other through conversation.
  Social networking has become a part of our lives. As a medium with strong social attributes, it is almost impossible for us to completely give up our circle of friends. However, you can’t really get all the information from your circle of friends, you can’t really keep up with all the trends, you can’t really say goodbye to loneliness, and you can’t really become the you that you dress up so carefully. Perhaps what matters is whether we can really be satisfied with what we have in the real world – the day we can do that will be the beginning of truly not being controlled by the virtual world.
  Finally, I would like to give you a poem:
  I remember when we were young, everyone said it sincerely. The train station in the early morning. The long street was dark and deserted.  The shop selling soy milk was steaming.  The sun had become slower in the past.  Cars , horses, and mail were all slow.   There is only enough time to love one person in a lifetime. The locks in the past were also beautiful. The keys were exquisite and stylish.   

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