Fear and the Art of Missing Out

Gallup conducted a study on social media usage by teens across the United States. The results are summarized in the first paragraph of the post.

Just over half of U.S. teenagers (51%) report spending at least four hours per day using a variety of social media apps such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), a Gallup survey of more than 1,500 adolescents finds. This use amounts to 4.8 hours per day for the average U.S. teen across seven social media platforms tested in the survey.

I would venture to guess the average social media user—teen or otherwise—doesn’t have 4.8 hours per day to consume content. That seems high, but maybe not. I saw a person run into a display with a shopping cart because they were watching TikTok videos—their phone cradled in the child’s seat. I’ll admit that Costco isn’t the most exciting place to be on a Thursday evening, but does it need to be?

I left traditional social media in 2020—Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, everything. I’ve missed out on a lot of exciting content: deals on Facebook Marketplace, discussions in different appraisal groups, AI-generated thought pieces on LinkedIn, a view into the lives of people from my high school, and the latest trends promulgated on TikTok.

It gets easier.

February 8, 2024