Social Media is making us more flaky and we need to talk about it

Flakiness is loosely defined as not withholding your commitments and cancelling on them at the last minute. According to Kate Hakala of the blog Mic, flakiness is on the rise, and social media is among one of the bigger factors behind it. Flakiness is an affliction that is terribly annoying for its victims. We like to plan our day in advance, knowing whom we will meet when and for what purpose. Unforeseen last minute adjustments and cancellations create domino effects that impacts the rest of the activities which we perform. Time is precious and there isn’t much going around.

How is social media then contributing to this phenomenon? Well, since we are all so interconnected now, we are aware of the sort of things our friends are getting involved in, be it a concert, a pop up food truck festival, or the innumerable events that are being showcased and highlighted on social media. We want to be a part of everything that is socially popular and we have a fear of missing out or “have FOMO” as is colloquially described these days. This leads to a glut of overcommitments and multitasking, all of which we cannot keep. Our calendars become increasingly scrunched and we do not have the time or attention to be fully present in any given interaction, conversation, or event. I found one quote in the article that nicely summed up the situation:

“Technology makes it so much easier to flake out,” Andrea Bonior, clinical psychologist and author of The Friendship Fix, told Mic. “Since many times plans are made through technology, it somehow doesn’t feel as wrong to just undo them via technology as well. It doesn’t seem as concrete in the first place, as, say, a paper birthday invitation.”

Should we be worried? If we are blind to how we are valuing our friendships and relationships, then yes. I am personally guilty of being flaky at times and I am struggling to keep my calendar clear. I am always anxious that I will somehow “miss out” on the sorts of things that others are involved in. However, I need to priortize my time better and recognize that depth is better than breadth. Being present and in the moment with one person is better than having your mind in three different places. Hakala’s article was a stark reminder to me that I shouldn’t fear missing out on fun things, but I should fear missing out on developing and nurturing long term friendships and relationships.

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One Response to Social Media is making us more flaky and we need to talk about it

  1. sydhavely says:

    Interesting post, Abhay. I used to think flakiness was a symptom of youth. I’m not so sure anymore. I try to hedge my acceptances with, “I’ll try but can’t promise.” That’s a little wobbly, but at least I’m not committing fully. Social media and its 24/7 calendar abilities don’t help that unfortunate trait.

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