Following the spate of "Internet is ruining our lives" articles that blame technology for all of our social, mental, and emotional woes, a new narrative has emerged that takes the burden off of our gadgets and puts it on ourselves. Take this Anil Dash blog post about JOMO, or the joy of missing, that's getting passed around the Internet today. "So often, we point the finger at our technologies for creating the fears, the insecurities, the tensions that arise in our social lives as they get increasingly run by social software," he writes. Dash, however, has another theory about the way technology affects our lives: "But if tech is to blame for our feelings (and I'm not sure I want to concede that point), then certainly we can make apps and sites and software that makes us joyously celebrate for the good time that our friends and loved ones and even complete strangers are having when they go about living their lives," he says. It's not "technology" that's doing this to us, it's the way we're using it. It's us.
We don't want to believe it's us though because that would suggest we did something wrong. So, instead we blame the Internet and the gadgets that have made it a ubiquitous part of our lives. The Web is driving us mad. It's also making us "lonely,"single" (which is a euphemism for lonely), and "disconnected." These articles use a mix of science and anecdotes to legitimize these feelings. The things did this to us! Dash's post, for example, is a response to a year-old article about the way technology has made us anxious about missing out. The thesis: Social media has worsened our FOMO (fear of missing out). "If you didn’t know that party was going on, you’d be home contentedly reading your latest New Yorker. But since you do, you hungrily watch each new tweet," wrote Caterina Fake. It's the apps that are stressing us out, she argues.