Visiobibliophobia (from Latin visio, "face"; biblio, "book"; and Greek φόβος/φοβία, phobia) is an anxiety disorder that was first described by neuroscientist Justin Moretto. The disease was first outlined in an attempt to properly describe a growing fear of the popular social networking site Facebook, but has since come to include fears of a wide variety of social media platforms such as twitter and foursquare. A less common name for the disease, prosopobibliophobia, is rarely used despite it's proper greek foundation. Prosopobibliophobia has the same meaning and connotation as visiobibliophobia but is less widespread because of it's less familiar greek words:πρόσωπο (face) βιβλίο (book).
Classes & Causes
As with all phobias the causes are hard to pinpoint. It is easier to talk directly about common triggers. Many Facebook users have experienced a period in their life when they did not have time to keep up with the demands of Facebook. For this reason they will not login for an extended period of time. This particular class of subject ("Return User") experiences visiobibliophobia before or soon after their return to Facebook. The mounting friend and "app" requests, along with the constantly changing landscape of Facebook causes deep, sometimes immobilizing anxiety in these subjects.
There is another common class of subject ("Non-User") who does not have a Facebook account of their own but is at least trivially familiar with the world of Facebook. These “interested” non-users (INU) can be crippled by the daunting task of learning a new technology which has the potential for limitless intricacies. This sub-class of Non-Users is defined by their desire to join Facebook despite the associated anxiety. An alternate notable sub-class of Non-User is the “uninterested” non-user. This population has no desire for the entrapments of Facebook, but feels anxiety none the less. Their anxiety is generally caused by a feeling of growing isolation. The typical uninterested non-user (UNU) is surrounded by people in their life who are deeply engrossed in the social networking capabilities of Facebook. UNUs may share the fear of learning new technologies but lack the desire to join the online community. The lack of desire that UNUs feel can sometimes change from the passive lack of desire to an active loathing under the stress of constant coercion from friends, family and co-workers to “join.” All non-users with visiobibliophobia experience a constant anxiety of varying degree. The emotional response can be exacerbated by Facebook news coverage and further coercion to “join.”
A third class of subject (“Chronic User”) is a dutiful member of the Facebook community. Chronic Users (ChU) regularly login to Facebook to update status, check up on friends along with many of the other common uses of Facebook. ChUs suffer from dependency anxiety. Some researchers would like to call this “Visiobibloholism,” but since there have been no recorded incidences of physical dependency, the term has not become accepted amongst researchers. The ChU will feel the deepest anxiety when they are unsure when they will next be able to login to Facebook. The anxiety is believed to come from feelings of inadequacy when their every thought is not updated, or when they think a Facebook “friend” may have had a thought they are unaware of. There are many other less well understood fears associated with ChUs which are difficult to describe clinically since ChUs are the least likely class of subject to seek treatment.
Effective treatment varies widely among the different classes and sub-classes of subjects. The Return User generally has two treatment options, the first being deletion of the account. For some subjects this treatment completely alleviates all anxiety. A small minority will slip into the INU category as they desire a return to the social community. They can not be classified as return users unless they create a new account and repeat the cycle. An even smaller minority become UNUs often exhibiting aggressive behavior towards all classes of user. This is the least desirable outcome.
INUs are typically counseled to create an account but start off slow with high privacy levels. This gives the subject the chance to learn some of the rudimentary functions of Facebook before being inundated with “requests.”
UNU’s do not generally require treatment. Extreme cases may require anger management. A recent experimental treatment had UNUs set up Facebook accounts with a note saying that they are not interested in being part of the community. Some concerned parties voiced ethical concerns due to a small minority of subjects becoming ChUs.
ChUs have the most diametric treatment options depending on the subjects treatment goals. ChUs who desire to return to physical social networking are encouraged to delete accounts and join a support group. ChUs who wish to stay connected are generally persuaded to buy an iPhone. This will give them the capability to connect at a moments notice. Some feel that this facilitates the dependency, but if the dependency itself is not interfering with the persons chosen life, it is not of much concern.
How Can I Avoid it?
To avoid the Facebook, one must hide in a secluded area far from the internet.
Visiobibliophobia in Our Society
Being a unique type of phobia, visiobibliophobia has created social effects uncommon to the effects of regular phobias. People suffering from this disorder often aggregate for moral support and protection. In depth research and recent events reveal the true purpose of such groups: destroying Facebook.
While their cause is considered noble, their methods certainly aren't, for on several occasions their gatherings have turned violent and often sparked riots.
The people behind Facebook have used this to turn governments and societies against these people instead of helping them.
Despite popular belief, celebrities are not immune to visiobibliophobia. Kristen Stewart has admitted to suffering from an extreme form which makes her believe social media will actually cause her to die. Jennifer Lawrence from the more generalized form, but also suffers from visiobibliophobia induced hyperventilation when in-person social situations lead to social media driven conversations. TMZ has reported the two A-list actresses as being in talks to establish a foundation to support young women afflicted with visiobibliophobia. Daniel Craig was once thought to be the only case of a variant that presents with no classic symptoms of fear or anxiety, but rather hatred and disgust. His reaction to social media has since been reclassified as visiobiblio-odio or simply the hatred of social media, as it has become clear that a growing population is afflicted with the disorder.