FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, and FOBO, or Fear Of Being Offline, are forms of nomophobia — smartphone separation anxiety born of fear of being disconnected from the online world. The struggle is real and both, in fact, may need treatment the same way other more accepted types of phobias do.
That is what experts recommend in a recent study that illustrates how the phobia may exist because of social media addiction. Yet, though it’s mostly the younger generation who are crippled with nomophobia, social media addiction can happen to both the young and the old.
Are you addicted to social media? Is it taking over your whole life? Let’s take a look at some of the signs you might have this era’s most popular addiction.
It’s the first thing you do in the morning — and the last thing at night
Your social media account is the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing in the evening before you retire for the night. In fact, you sleep with your phone within easy reach. Someone might post something and you don’t want to be last to the party.
Image credit: CheatSheet
You hear imaginary notifications
The rustling of clothes, muscle spasms, and skin itches are now sometimes being interpreted by our brains as vibrations from text or call notifications.
This is called the phantom vibration syndrome. According to a study, 9 out of 10 undergraduates suffer from this phenomenon. The cause is thought to develop from carrying a phone all the time and having vibration as your alert.
Now, you can blame your brain for all those times you thought you were hallucinating.
You use the word “hashtag” in normal conversations, and laugh at jokes with “lol”
A study shows that the English language is changing faster than ever. In this study, 86% of older people in Britain think the younger generation is speaking another language on social media. Indeed, social media may be driving the evolution of language today.
Because social media, particularly Twitter, restricts the number of characters in a post, a whole new language of abbreviations is born. Terms like LOL for Laugh Out Loud and IMO/IMHO for In My (Honest) Opinion are all okay to use in a Twitter post or elsewhere on the internet, but the moment you start using them in real conversations, and then add “hashtag” complete with hand gestures for effect, then you’re absolutely going too far.
Image credit: Beautiful Trouble
Incidentally, if you’re interested in expanding your reach on Twitter, you should try combining your organic marketing efforts with buying Twitter followers. Bought followers can help you gain real followers because they give you the appearance of being popular.
This is why popular people tend to get more popular. It’s human nature to like being around the influential people, and to try to make friends with them.
You monitor likes closely
You know you’re addicted to social media when you watch your like counter like a hawk. A positive comment is more preferable but you’ll settle for a like.
When someone likes your post you feel utterly proud of yourself but if no one appreciated your cleverness within an hour, the walls come crashing down. Nobody cares. :-(
Image credit: Business2Community
You let everybody know what you’re eating at every single meal
Whether you’re eating out with friends or cooking at home, you absolutely must take a picture of your food first before you eat it.
You can tell everybody that taking a picture of your food before eating makes the food taste better, as one recent study claims, but you know you just want to let everyone know what you’re having for lunch.
Image credit: SCIENCE OF US
Your followers probably don’t mind, unless you’re taking pictures à la Martha Stewart.
What the hell?
Image credit: Martha Stewart via Twitter
You can’t live without WiFi
They can’t live without the internet. That’s the sentiment of 64% of the respondents of a global survey of six countries: the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, and Singapore. Do you share the same feeling?
If you feel like the world is going to end every time you lose your signal, then you’re most certainly addicted to social media.
You probably won’t appreciate this.
Image credit: Starecat
You can’t leave the house without your smartphone
Your phone might as well be connected to your hip like another limb, because it stays with you wherever you go. You have a tendency to forget your keys but not your phone. It’s your connection to the world and you must stay in touch at all times.
It’s probably the case that you can’t leave the house without your phone. According to a study, 73% of people would panic if they ever found themselves without their phones, while another 14% would feel “desperate.”
There are many theories as to why we’re so attached to our phones but if you already had to check Facebook since you started reading this article, you have a serious case of social media addiction.
You have more online friends than you have in real life
Is gaining friends becoming such an obsession that you now have more friends online than in real life?
It’s easier to meet and friend people online than in real-life, but if you maintain better relationships with your online friends than you do with your offline friends, then you should start thinking about balance.
Also, don’t worry if you don’t have that many digital buddies. Another study says being popular online doesn’t mean you’re also popular offline.
So, just because you don’t have many online friends doesn’t mean you aren’t likeable in real life. Concentrate on making meaningful connections instead, though if it really bothers you, try buying social media Followers to attract more real Followers.
The number of followers you have will serve as your social proof. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people take on the opinions and actions of other people when they are unsure of what to do, or don’t have enough time to decide on their own.
The number of followers you have represents the number of people who like you, and that number — that social proof — helps in people’s decisions on whether to follow you or not. The more social proof you have, the more effective your growth strategies will be.
You change your profile picture about twenty times each month
You know you’re addicted to social media when you just can’t decide which profile picture to use. Besides, with all the selfies you have on your phone, it will really be a shame if no one, besides yourself, will ever get to see them.
Never mind if the selfie is at a funeral and you have a casket for a backdrop.
Image credit: The Lady Loves Couture
You have more social media apps than productivity apps
Is it hard to find other apps on your phone amidst the ocean of social media icons? That just shows how much you love social media. Of course, you might say your social media apps are part of your “productivity” tools, but it’s still okay if they’re not.
Having plenty of social media apps on your phone is fine if social media is a part of your daily routine, but if your usage is disrupting your life, it’s time to take a break and find life outside of it.
Are You Positively or Negatively Addicted?
Some psychologists maintain that there are two kinds of addiction: positive and negative. Positive addiction enriches your life, makes you feel happier, more confident or more creative. Negative addiction, on the other hand, harms you and decreases your overall well-being.
When it feels like social media is consuming your life, ask yourself if you’re still within the bounds of “healthy” or not, and decide from there how you’ll handle the situation.
Like all kinds of addiction, remember that you can manage your social media obsession and still live a functional life.