What is FOMO (Fear of Missing out) and how it Impacts all of us in the Digital Age
What is FOMO or the Fear of Missing out and how does it Impact us all
The acronym FOMO or Fear of Missing Out refers to the perceived sense of loss and fear of missing out on important updates, whether they are Facebook posts, Tweets, News Items, or even shopping goods and services.
To explain, suppose you are browsing through your news feed on Facebook or going through your Twitter feed and realize that there is more updates sine the last minute or even seconds that you have checked earlier.
As you soon as you realize this, you go back and feverishly and furiously scan through the news feed or Twitter feed and are satisfied momentarily. However, soon you are back in the FOMO loop whether in the next few minutes or hours.
In other words, the constant flow of information that you would like to consume makes you a slave to the digital devices and keeps you from other important things such as focusing in work or studying or even engaging in intellectual pursuits.
Thus, FOMO is very real in the present Digital Age and impacts all of us, whether we are working professionals or students or even business leaders and thought leaders.
The Impulse Society and the Instant Gratification World
Indeed, the never ending scrolling through the updates, whether they are on WhatsApp or Facebook, or Twitter, or Google News, and sundry online shopping sites means that while we are not starved for chances for instant gratification, the endless pursuit of pleasure diverts our attention and distracts us no end.
Talking about instant gratification, the FOMO phenomenon feeds on your insatiable quest for the ever elusive high that we get from our devices and Smartphones.
We mentioned the term ever elusive since FOMO is a work in progress or is in constant operation whenever we are online and hence, it impacts all of us, consciously or subconsciously, whether we are aware of it or not.
Apart from that, FOMO also means that online browsing has become an addiction and this is the reason the WHO or World Health Organization in its recent report mentioned how gaming addiction is now considered a Mental Health Disorder.
Indeed, the FOMO phenomenon has taken over our lives so badly that we no longer pause and think about the consequences and instead, are in a race to continually derive kicks from our online activities.
Where this would lead to us is as yet unknown, but the realization that FOMO is a significant threat to us has been recognized.
Harnessing FOMO for Good
Having said that, it is also the case that all instances of FOMO are bad for us since sometimes the hunger for more and the search for information has some positive impacts.
For instance, for ambitious professionals, the constant fear of missing out means that they devote energies and attention on what they browse for and search for instead of blindly following whatever is thrown at them or shown to them.
In other words, they engage in what is known as Smart Browsing rather than Blind Browsing so that their online behavior is targeted and focused instead of being distracted. Indeed, this is especially the case with many achievers who have written about their experiences with FOMO.
What they mention is how FOMO can be harnessed for good by simply being focused while browsing with the same attention and devotion that one would put into our work.
Thus, FOMO can evoke the ambition and the energy from us that would lead us to excellence by channeling our fear of missing out and combining it with dedicated and targeted smart online browsing.
Digital Detox and the Art of Mindfulness
Whichever option you prefer, our suggestion is that a Digital Detox every day would be good for your overall wellbeing wherein you take time off daily to meditate and practice mindfulness. Indeed, mindfulness while online can mitigate much of the adverse effects of FOMO.
To see how it works in practice, picture yourself browsing through your Facebook or Twitter feeds or Google News pages and focus on what is important rather than what is sensational or trending. In other words, be smart in your browsing rather than browsing merely for the high that you get.
By replacing the latter with the former, you can ensure that you are never really addicted to your devices. Moreover, whenever you feel like FOMO is about to take over, breathe deeply and stay calm so that you can regain your balance and not be caught in the vortex and the loop of vicious search for instant gratification.
Having said that, we also acknowledge that this is easier said than done because of the simple reason that contemporary marketers thrive on FOMO to drive their marketing and advertising strategies.
In other words, we live in an Impulse Society and an Instant Gratification world where FOMO is Big Business for many.
Thus, weaning yourself away from devices might be extremely difficult and this is more the reason why we advise you to ensure that you at least not lose control over your spending or work by being sucked into the Algorithmic driven digital outlets.
In case you find it difficult to try these measures, we suggest that you simply select a few sites that you think would not exacerbate the problem but would rather leave you feeling better.
To conclude, while experts say that technology is value neutral, our stand is that it is also making us more and more driven by FOMO which at some point would turn out to be harmful and action by businesses and marketers then might be too late.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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