The FoMO is Real.

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A social phenomenon known as FoMO, Fear of Missing Out, is increasingly becoming a commonality in this day and age of computers and social media. Studies have shown that students who saw more pictures on Facebook of their friends partying were more inclined to participate in these activities themselves. The study also says that “these results provide evidence that friends’ online behaviors should be considered a viable source of peer influence.” The ancient idea of peer pressure where one individual is coaxed into trying something he or she would normally refuse has now spilled into cyberspace. While this particular study focused mainly on Facebook, the effects are just as applicable to different social media channels, especially ones that involve photos. 

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Zizi Papacharissi said “presentations of the self thus become networked performances that must convey polysemic content to audiences, actual and imagined, without compromising one’s own sense of self” in her essay, Without You, I’m Nothing: Performances of the Self on TwitterJames Vincent’s article, The Facebook effect? Social media exposure increases smoking and drinking among teens speaks to this quote. The article mainly speaks about the different ways that social media outlets like Facebook are influencing the behavior of a lot of high school students. Because of this idea of FoMO, there is an increasing amount of behavioral changes. People are so concerned with the way that they appear on their social media sites that they must tailor and curate the content that they post up on these websites according to the people that are going to see the content. I believe the article was accurate with the concepts that we have been learning in class because it talks about the ways that these different SNS’ are beginning to influence behavior. Whether there are weak ties or strong ties, either way, people have a way of influence each other through social media. In addition, other studies have shown that these cases of FoMO are linked to an increase in anxiety and depression.

At the same time, there is also the idea that on social media, people make it seem like they are having more fun than they actually are. As Marwick & Boyd have said in I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience, we post based on our imagined audience, and in this case, Facebook is an outlet that is used mainly to share whatever we are doing. We want to make it appear as if we are doing things on the weekends or eating the best foods. Facebook is all about creating an image of ourselves that we want our old high school friends and family to see. Baym talks about how we are able to have different images of ourselves because of the digital image that we put out for people to see. The person that we actually are may not actually be the person that is being depicted on the various modes of social media that are being used. These identities are created by the actions that we take, so if the pictures that we upload onto Facebook are only ones of us drinking or smoking or partying with our friends, that is the image that is given to our imagined audience.

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