I find acronyms interesting, well not all of them but quite a few. The acronym FOMO has been around for over a decade but I only became aware of it a few months ago. It first appeared in the Urban Dictionary in 2006 so I guess it had been in use for a while before then. According to Urban Dictionary FOMO is 'a state of mental or emotional strain caused by the fear of missing out.'
FOMO is used to describe anxiety where a person feels they are going to miss out on something great. It seems to apply not only to a fear of missing out if one doesn't attend an event in person but also to a compulsion to stay connected to social media so as not to miss out there.
There is a FOMO Facebook group. The definition of FOMO on the site is given as “debilitating psychological condition . . . most commonly characterised by a subject’s obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts about whether somebody, somewhere else, might be having a better time than they are.”
Social media probably accounts for much FOMO. Friends post their best holiday pics on various social media sites. In times gone by you might have received one postcard from a friend on holiday, today you will probably see numerous shots. They may be posted every day of the holiday so you receive frequent reminders that your friend is having the time of their life while you are at work/ home doing the same old, same old.
Note, your friend didn't post pics of the negative aspects of his/her holiday, the uncomfortable bed, the mosquitoes, no hot water in the shower or waiting in a queue for hours.
Vacation pics on social media can contribute to FOMO Courtesy of Pixabay
People go on holidays more often these days and an increasing number are holidaying overseas. When I read more people are spending money on experiences rather than material objects I first thought this was positive. However, I have also read people want experiences whether it be vacations, events they attend or meals out that will make others jealous. Not so positive after all. These experiences will be photographed and posted to social media for friends and workmates to see. Surely this type of thing contributes to FOMO.
Pics on social media of skydiving will induce FOMO in some Courtesy of Pixabay
On top of this it is easy to access social media updates about the rich and famous. We can see where they are partying, holidaying and shopping.
A more recent acronym to emerge is MOMO. I have read this has other meanings but related to FOMO it means 'mystery of missing out'. It is the anxiety about missing out on something when others are not updating what they are up to via social media.
Some people take a healthy interest in what others are up to but they don't feel they are missing out or fear someone else somewhere is having a better time than they are. Why? Because they are so busy living and enjoying their own lives on their own terms.