Word Of the Week #579: FOMO

September 9, 2015 by  

FOMO anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

Have you heard about FOMO — “Fear Of Missing Out”? Do you have anxiety about not attending social events? Did you know that FOMO was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013?

This Washington Post article Research finds link between social media and the ‘fear of missing out’ written by Justin White states, “People have always been concerned about their social standing, but the explosion of social media has made FOMO a bigger issue, for everyone from middle schoolers newly toting smartphones to adults. Now researchers have developed a quiz to test just how fearful people are about missing out.

a fomoAmong the questions the FOMO quiz asks are how often someone checks social media (“when eating breakfast?” “when eating lunch?” “in the 15 minutes before you go to sleep?”) and how worried he or she feels when friends are hanging out without them. As the intro to the quiz puts it, “FOMO . . . is a relatively new concept where people are concerned that others may be having more fun and rewarding experiences than them. It is characterized as the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.

FOMO is often associated with a perceived low social rank, which can cause feelings of anxiety and inferiority. When someone misses a party, vacation or other social event, he or she can feel a little less cool than those who showed up and snapped photos. In some cases, people are even afraid to miss out on bad stuff. FOMO is most common in people ages 18 to 33 — in one survey, two-thirds of people in this age group said they experience these fears. The survey also suggests FOMO is more common among guys than ladies, though it’s unclear why.

Whatever you do, remember when scoping out other people’s plans, especially online, that many people project their most idealized selves on the Web. So spy with a skeptical eye. And to those who are confident enough in their plans for this Friday night . . . well, hats off.”

This week’s focus is on FOMO. Do you feel a need to be continually connected with what others are doing? How does it make you feel if you miss an awesome party everyone else enjoyed? Are you like me and only care about what you are doing?

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