The other day I was at my coffee shop, about to make an order, when I got into a conversation with another regular. And then, a few minutes in, I felt a familiar internal tug. A chime inside said it was “time to get back.” It’s one of the last vestiges of my former mental patterns. I get a vague feeling on occasion that it’s been a little while since I’ve looked at my instant messages, checked my email, scrolled through Twitter, or refreshed The Verge front page. “Someone on my computer must miss me,” it seems to say. It’s a combination of a fear of missing out, and a hope of being missed.
Paul Miller, writer for the tech site The Verge, is taking a year off from the Internet and sending in updates to be posted to the site.
He’s currently three months into the experiment, with the latest update posted on the 13th. I love the glimpse into his life and that FOMO is still hitting strong, even after 90+ days away from the web.
It shows us that everyone, deep down, has that fear in the back of their mind. Social networking has amplified that fear and given us both the largest, most accessible and easy-to-use soapbox in history to share (and receive back those tidbits of reassurance and positive reinforcement) and a porthole view into a large number of lives. It hits on our narcissistic, exhibitionist, and voyeuristic tendencies like nothing else we’ve experienced. It’s also what makes the Internet so awesome and so crappy, all at the same time.