January 7, 2018 jasperdetaeye

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) – Arbitrary phenomenon OR here to stay??

A few years ago, we hadn’t heart at all of FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Nowadays, it’s commonly used in discussions between friends, family and colleagues. But what’s FOMO exactly? To state the Urban Dictionary, it is the fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great. We are referring here to a state of mind. Like you can be anxious, you can as well have a feeling of FOMO. It is a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out on something.

To break it down to Jasper logic, I would use the concept FOMO as follow. To refer to acting in a certain way because you are highly influenced by something (i.e. social media) in terms of the asserted potential of something and you do not want to say on a birthday, I missed that wave. You want to be able to be part of the herd by saying that you knew that and participated/invested. It’s a kind of a destructive internal dialogue that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening beyond your awareness and you’re not part of it.

I believe social media, globalisation and an increasing societal inclination to compare are the main drivers of the existence of this state of mind; FOMO.

The rise of FOMO through Social Media

With the rise of several social media platforms and the further adoption of current social media platforms, we’ve become more and more aware of the lives of the people around us. Next, we have become specialist in spicing up our lives by means of picturing events from the best angle at exactly the right time. And don’t forget to enrich it after with a fancy filter. Mostly, all our lives on social media look like amazing good craic.

As a result of us investing time in spicing up our lives virtually and our frequent use of social platforms, we acquire an inclination to compare ourselves constantly. We want to have the best life and don’t want to miss out on the cool stuff our friends are doing. Hence, we develop a feeling of missing our; FOMO.

Three FOMO examples

While the concept FOMO is used more and more frequent, it especially resides in the following events for me over the past year.

Festivals > When you go to a festival you want to share this with everybody. Maybe you want to show that you’re a cool person that attends festivals? Maybe you want to share your happiness. Whatever the intention is, it induces a fear of missing out.

Cryptocurrency > When you make loads of money with trading cryptocurrency, you want to share your investment capabilities. Generally, people aren’t alien to making some extra cash. So they are also going to invest in something they aren’t frequently aware of, inducing FOMO. Let the bizarre speculations in cryptocurrency start…

Sports > When you practice to run a marathon or cycle an extensive trip, loads of endorphins are created. You feel happy and we humans want to share this. Our surroundings correlate your happiness to sports. So they also start to exercise until they notice the commitment and perseverance it requires.

Is FOMO here to stay?

We, humans, are masters in deluding ourselves. We like to show which brands we are wearing by having the logo on the outside instead of the inside. We love to emphasize our identity and stimulate our ego by exposing our lives through among others Branding and Social Media. That’s the simple truth of the existence of human being. Hence, the marketing industry is gigantic.

We’ll always be influenced by the life of our surroundings. FOMO is here to stay. However, FOMO will come in many different forms. Social Media has enhanced FOMO clearly within our society. Could AI enhance FOMO? And could Blockchain diminish FOMO?


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