I had never been a big one to experience FOMO. I simply floated along, doing my own thing and not really being too concerned about what others were doing. Sure, social media occasionally kicked me in the gut — sometimes with jealousy (oh, how I would love to own that Chanel bag my pledge sister posted on Instagram) or even hurt feelings (why was I not invited to that pregame at Jaime’s place that five of my friends checked in at?). But in general, FOMO was replaced by just living my life which, not to sound braggy or anything, is pretty awesome.
But then came Snapchat, and suddenly my FOMO not only kicked into gear, but it almost became crippling. As for why this form of social media affected me more than others, I’m not really sure. People posted Facebook updates and Instagram posts of their fabulous lives and I would simply hit the “like” button with a “good for them” attitude. But Snapchat, well, it was just different. Maybe it was that it is streaming video, which meant instant updates, not “here’s what I did last night.” It was almost like a live feed into what my friends (and in some cases, foes) were doing right at that moment and I was hooked.
Actually, hooked probably isn’t a strong enough term. In all truthfulness, I became obsessed. Not with sending my own snaps or posting my own stories, but watching everyone else’s. I wanted to know what everyone was doing all of the time and Snapchat was my venue for finding out. Even when I was out doing cool things of my own with people I adored, instead of paying attention to what was going on around me, I was staring at my phone, looking at what everyone else was doing, making sure I wasn’t missing out on anything. Of course, the irony of that is that by becoming so obsessed with Snapchat, I actually was missing out on the places I was at or the people I was with.
In addition to the FOMO issue, there was another area of my life where my Snapchat fixation was a problem: guys. If there was a guy I liked, I neurotically checked to see if he had posted a story. If some random girl showed up in his snap, I fanatically searched the internet to figure out who she was and what their connection was. I would peer into the background to try and determine his exact location. Was he home? At a bar where he could potentially meet someone else? I would spend hours upon hours watching and re-watching stories to try and piece together his day in an effort to create a narrative that would allow me to convince myself that our future as a couple was a given.
Seriously? I had become a borderline stalker. The only thing worse would actually be getting in my car and following a dude around. What the hell was happening to me? The confident girl who regularly said “fuck him if he’s not interested” and who lived without FOMO? She was gone, and in her place was a junkie – a Snapchat junkie. I was only one flower-crown-filtered picture away from a breakdown. And it was time I did something about it.
There was no grand event that led me to the realization of what I needed to do – I just suddenly knew that I had to stop. Quit cold-turkey. Delete the freaking thing off my phone and move on. Sure, it meant losing the puppy and butterfly filters, but it was worth it to gain back just a little bit of my sanity. A little bit of sanity that is now being slaughtered Instagram’s new story feature…but I can only quit one app at a time, okay?.