Today , as I waited in the Airport lounge , I looked around me. Though the sight was very common , but for a few minutes, somehow I felt very strange. Almost 90% of the people were using either their cell phone or ipad or laptop, looking at the screen - sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning, some were clicking photographs , some people were talking but about something on their smart screens ! The power of connectivity !
We are always "on". Checking and replying to messages, emails, tweeting or posting on social networking sites. We reply within seconds ! The first thing which I checked after landing is whether my cell phone network is working or not. Technology has brought about a revolution in keeping us connected through multiple communication channels. Facebook has made us virtually omnipresent. These have changed our lives drastically. So big is the impact that a fear has crept in our psyche. FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out.
We are so connected with one another through our Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, that we can’t just be alone anymore. The fear of missing out (FOMO) — on something more fun, on a social event that might just happen on the spur of the moment — is so intense, even when we decide to disconnect, we still connect just once more, just to make sure.
When we see something nice, we want to click a photograph instead of seeping in the beauty. Rather than writing something creative, we want to remark on some one else's comment or picture. Because of the attention span deficit, we prefer to look at photographs or visuals than reading something thought provoking. In her book "Alone Together", MIT professor Sherry Turkle has explored this aspect beautifully. As I write this piece, I have checked my facebook twice . Is someone doing something more interesting , something more exciting or something better ?
It is definitely a heady feeling to be connected with my old school friends , knowing what my contacts are doing or feeling (Facebook now prompts "How are you feeling Ananya ?" in the status update box). But sometimes I miss the feeling when in my childhood , I waited with bated breath , running towards the door, to check whether my Uncle has reached with my birthday gift. The excitement of opening a letter written by my pen friend. The gossips during our lunch breaks where we discussed the whackiest thing a friend did last evening.
I want to break free in 2013.
I want to be missed, but I do not want to be drowned in the fear of missing out.