Have you ever posted a status on a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter only to find that nobody likes it, retweets it, or talks to you about it when you next see them? I mean, you knew this was GOLD! You knew that this status would draw at least one Like from a family member or a social media stalker (c’mon you know who you are!). If you can relate, and this has worried you, you may have experienced Social Exclusion Anxiety.
If you think about it, Facebook and probably many other social media platforms were birthed out of a desire to be included and not miss out on what was going on in the lives of others around you. I am going to be stereo typical here, but let’s be honest, geeks and nerds at school don’t generally have fantastic social skills or are invited to all the cool parties (I can’t speak from experience). And where were most of these social media developed? College? By teens and those in their early twenties?
The fear of missing out. Social Exclusion Anxiety. I think many of us can truly relate to this feeling and fear from time to time to varying degrees. And for some people, the thought of missing out on some news regarding your social circle is very hard to bear. You genuinely have a fear of being excluded from an online comments-fest on Facebook or the re-tweet of your favorite tweet peeps words of wisdom.
I think we need to remember, that what we see on social media networks in writing is, in some aspects, what happens quite often away from the computer in social circles and human experience. We miss out. We don’t get the latest gossip. We aren’t included in the conversation. We aren’t included in the lunch invitation. We are not invited to the party. And what happens? We begin to question ourselves. We begin to question our likability. Our intrinsic worth.
What I believe is incredibly dangerous and destructive is a thought pattern that says, in a round-about fashion, “If you don’t Like this (Facebook post), you don’t Like me.” “Is anyone reading and caring what I write? Do they care about me?” If that is the way you think, or approach social media, you need to step back and assess how things are and get a grip on your worth because YOU are incredibly valuable. You are loved and have the capacity to love and embrace. You are somebody’s son or somebody’s daughter, you have been fearfully and wonderfully created by God.
I think Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and all the other online social media arenas all have their place, have become a part of our lives and have enriched them also. But seriously, if you are checking social media feeds all the time, in fear that you will miss out on being included, I suggest you take a break. Disconnect. Fast. Whatever it takes to know that you don’t have to draw your worth from this well of social experience.
Go hug someone. Call someone. See someone. Touch someone. Love someone. Find security in a loving God who takes you as you are and loves you forever in all your brokenness and insecurity.Sidenote: If this has seriously touched a sore spot in your heart, I suggest you go see a trained professional like a counsellor or psychologist. At least speak to someone you trust about it.