A Culture of Social Media Aggression: Beyond FOMO


“Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners.” One of the greatest press conference statements that an athlete, namely Conor McGregor who is one genuine article, could deliver. I believe in eccentric people like Conor; they are so darn authentic. And I’ve never understood why people love to hate them. So here’s my question for reflection this month…Where is our focus as humans? Parents? Workplace professionals? Friends? Have we as a society lost authenticity in the race to make it known that our lives are perfect and happy on social media? And is the public/online reaction from others what we are waiting for, more so than the personal reward of accomplishment? Are we living in a world of social media aggression beyond FOMO? I’ve been sitting on this topic while I wrapped my head around a comment I recently heard a mom make on a busy Saturday amidst other moms. She made certain to use a volume that would assert attention as she gleefully boasted in her own overtly competitive nature, “I told my son in the car that if he didn’t score 12 points in his game today, he couldn’t come home hahaha, and he cried.”

No one laughed. In fact, the first reactions were clearly that of puzzlement as she scrambled and back-tracked to say that she was just joking when she said it to him. But like…”No, you weren’t,” was my ONLY thought. Fully uncomfortable moment. I’d never felt so grateful to have other women present to hear it, and then further thankful that no one encouraged or applauded the comment as comedic. Why was there any need to validate your own competitive spirit? Never in a million years will the number of points my child scores validate him in my eyes. Is the logic NOW to take to the streets what we once would just post as an achievement? It really got me thinking. This world is becoming disgustingly competitive without the SUBSTANCE to back up the public parts we expose sometimes. Will the next generations even know what humble means? And we wonder why the embattled mental health status of kids and teens is on the rise, as they are navigating a world that has set them up for disappointment. NO ONE is living a perfect life. And unfortunately, in a world that if they aren’t living on a public “next level” via social media – a shaky platform to stand on – no wonder they feel consumed with anxiety and fear.

So there I was, simply pondering for a few weeks on this angle for a post. And then…a couple documentaries on the Fyre Festival came out and completely confirmed all of my enraged logic. We are all fools to the throes of social media. We aren’t just letting it distract us, disrupt us, and purchase more crap we don’t need, we are literally embodying in our in-person selves, the self-righteousness that was once (10 years ago) just an innocent profile picture and a few lines of information on our favorite hobbies. We are a world of public bios on steroids. Unless you aren’t on any of it, and in that case, please tell me how you stay in touch with facets of the world if you are in fact, part of certain groups or organizations.

And up next came the embattled clips of a Catholic high school student and Native American war veteran which the media blitzed from every angle in a heap of one gigantic political mess. Maybe it’s time we turn off all of this NOISE and all of this tomfoolery altogether. We are becoming so angry. All. The. Time. “Sally got a Porsche from Tom, but didn’t Tom file bankruptcy last year?”  “Mike and Sheila are on a three-week vacation in Italy, must be nice.”  What has happened to just the idle comment of, “Wow, that’s so great for them.”  This is the new aged evolution of conversations, and it’s breaking me as a human being. So much misery we bestow from the simplest of pictures. So much jealousy in the world. If you haven’t heard such comments, then you have got to be living in some escape from this hellish reality the rest of us are in. FOMO is so 2017, and I don’t know what this new era can be termed, but it isn’t a FEAR OF anything, it’s the brazen, unabashed portrayal of jealousy, and just like Conor, I’m fully of the mind that those most worried about others’ achievements are the ones most unhappy with themselves. Can we all just go back to watering our own lawns and worrying about the green behind our own fences? Without the concern, if our lawnmower is as fancy as Dave and Tina’s down the street…