So it’s 10pm on a Tuesday night, you decided to have a peaceful night in, perhaps finish reading a book, watch a film, or maybe even get a full night’s sleep for once in your life.
Just as you are about to settle in, you check your Facebook feed and as if hit by a bolt of lighting, you’re running out your door in a desperate panic to meet-up with friends who just posted a blurry photo of a guy, you used to play handball with in high school, riding a mechanical bull while wearing a sombrero. It’s an experience you have to partake in, you don’t want to miss out on all the fun. But are you really missing out? Why would your plans to have a quiet night at home be derailed by a Facebook post? It all boils down to the cognitive effects that social media has on us.
In recent years, social media’s effects on our behavior has been termed as the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), which a study by the University of Derby found can have real effects on a person’s mental well-being. The study examined the connection between depression, stress and anxiety cause by the social rank theory of depression. The theory explains the adaptive response we make once we feel that our social status is starting to decline; i.e. not the life of the party anymore. The perception of a decline in social status or rank that manifests itself into a feeling of inferiority in our “hierarchical view” of ourselves.
So the photo of Mr. Sombrero riding the mechanical bull, triggers a cognitive response in you, where you feel you have been left out while everyone else is having a great time.
It’s simply our competitive nature as humans that has really shot us in the foot. What was once a motivator that help guided mankind out of the caves and into the space age, has now led you to try and keep up with a guy in a sombrero.
Watch this video for an explanation why you should delete all your social media accounts.