FOMO full form: Fear of Missing Out
F = Fear
O = Of
M = Missing
O = Out
A sense of anxiety or uncertainty over the prospect, as an occurrence or an opportunity, of missing out on something. If I say no to the invitation to the party, I get a bad case of FOMO.
Used to explain the feeling of anxiety that many individuals encounter when they learn that other individuals have had fun together, have been successful in something, or have done just about anything they would have liked to be involved in. From a fleeting pang of jealousy through to a true sense of self-doubt or inadequacy, FOMO expresses itself in different ways.
Of course, FOMO is nothing new, because we are conditioned to feel a little insecure or discouraged as human beings if we assume we have lost an opportunity that others have made the most of. So why did this notion strike a chord with us recently, and so much so that we spontaneously coined a new phrase to explain it? The response is predictably related to digital technology, and social media in particular.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it readily clear to us what other individuals are up to. If one day you feel a little low or lonely, flicking on your screen and noticing that without you, a bunch of friends or acquaintances have been whooping it up is only likely to make you feel worse. The issue is that online networking helps us to equate our lives with those of others instantly. We may have been blissfully unaware of what everyone else was doing in previous eras, but now, even a tiny little Twitter post has the power to make us feel a little peeved or envious.
One way to help relieve FOMO could be to go on social media to go cold turkey, a possibility related to what a digital detox has been called, a time of not using mobile devices. The next time you are tempted to idle away on Facebook for a few minutes, note that by being glued to the phone you may be ‘missing out’.