Is your Facebook newsfeed making you anxious and inadequate because you’re home on a saturday night and your friends just checked in a hot night spot in town?
Is your twitter feed making you immeasurable to many of your ‘the-scene’ friends as they boast about who they met during their weekend rendezvous?
As you scroll through photos of your friends on their Facebook page, a sickening feeling of ‘wished-I- had-been-there’ starts festering in you.
Well, you could be suffering from a social disease called FOMO,
FOMO stands for fear of missing out.
According to Wortham in the article (2011), fear of missing out (FOMO),
refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram. Billions of Twitter messages, status updates and photographs provide thrilling glimpses of the daily lives and activities of friends, “frenemies,” co-workers and peers.
While social media has led increase in connectivity between people, the social phenomenon of FOMO has manifested in many of the users, like you and me.
While more often than not, when you are bombarded by a series of updates on friends with an active social life, the instant reaction is to try and out do them by posting equally engaging, if not more engaging status updates of your life (in desperate occasions, maybe dig up old photos and pass it off as new ones in a new album). But what happens here is something that is similar to paying it forward, but only in a negative way because unintentionally, you are then subjecting to another person on your friend’s list to FOMO.
Much like what the article said, FOMO does not only apply solely to fear of missing out on social activities like nightlife or vacations, it can generally affect everything else in your life.
Recently, while scrolling through a few of my friend’s profile pages on Facebook, I chanced upon two of my friends who have recently given birth, and are frantically posting adorable photos of their babies in various positions, throughout the day. And FOMO kicked in on me. I started thinking that ‘maybe it was time i had a baby and settle down (look at those tiny feet)’, ‘maybe I’m too old to have a baby now (am I?)’, ‘I’m missing out on so much in life, she’s experiencing the joy of motherhood, and what am I doing? Partying like an Uni kid’. Then i realise, I am an Uni kid. I am suppose to be partying and rushing through essays, why did i even start fearing missing out on motherhood when I just turned 21?
Well, thats FOMO for you, right there.
Thinking of it, FOMO caused me to even start my Facebook account and subsequently my twitter, my Instagram, and now I am up to my neck with social media to update and to catch up on.
So are you suffering from FOMO?
Wortham, 9 April 2011, Feel like a wallflower? Maybe it’s your Facebook wall, <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10ping.html>.