Fear Of Missing Out
This past September a was having lunch at Cristostomo, a run down taco stand in the middle of drug cartel ridden Juarez Mexico, rumored to be the birthplace of the burrito. Meanwhile I am wearing a custom tailored shirt from Hong Kong and the fake Ray Bans I had haggled down to 10 dollars in a sketchy Chinese market. I finish my lunch, say adios to my amigos and walk out back to my truck. It’s a Chevy 1500, with no AC and you have to enter/exit through the window Nascar style. This in itself, in my opinion, makes a great story with a certain level of douchebagery that satisfies me and needs no further justification.
…But I had to get a pic outside Cristostomo to post on social media and share with my “friends” because it’s not a real life moment until it’s documented online. And I didn’t want to miss out on that…
I hop in the truck cross the border back into the US and head for the airport.
On the flight back to Boston I was flipping through the pages of GQ when I came across an article titled “Do you suffer from #FOMO?”
“WTF is FOMO?” I thought. I like to consider myself a pretty up-to-date guy on current trends and events. Whether it’s political/pop-culture/sports/etc I always like to know as much as I can, because you never know where you will find common ground with a client or that dame sitting in the other aisle seat on your 16 hour flight halfway across the world. Truth was I did not know what FOMO was and now it’s in the dictionary, because apparently speakin’ in abrievs is tots legit and redonk.
Fear Of Missing Out, in short, is a social anxiety disorder that spread from Silicone Valley. Most recent credits go to Facebook, #Twitter and Instagram. They are loving it though because my FOMO and your FOMO is what’s driving IPO’s and those nasty little updates we all love to complain about. FOMO is just a synonym for insecurity, so if you aren’t a little bit insecure, you aren’t human.
Right now you’re reading this, sitting back, and thinking “Nope not me I don’t suffer from FOMO.” Well newsflash you’re not only lying to me but you’re lying to yourself. We all want to be a part of something big or small. But there is some good news, no matter what; someone, somewhere is suffering from FOMO more than you.
I’ll tell you some people who suffer from serious FOMO, I throw these terms around when labeling social media types.
- The Open Book: He or She will update their status or send tweets informing you of just about anything you don’t care about and it’s mostly negative.
- The Hater: Likes to seriously smack talk people over social media never revealing a name, but it should be obvious to that certain someone who it is. Notable quote: “Hate = unfollow.”
- The Giver: He or She shares/retweets every interesting article/meal/picture/video/meme they saw on the interwebs that day. They think they’re educating the world. Guess what I went on reddit today too, I saw it, You aren’t diverse or cultured because you clicked the link taking you to the source before you shared it.
- The Second Opinion or The Piggy Back: This person comments on everything you are connected to on social media. The comments tend to be overkill and their #hashtags irrelevant.
- The Quick Survey: This person posts a question usually looking for help on major-minor decision, but really looking for recognition/reassurance of what they already have.
- The Paparazzi: Takes pictures of everything, uploads 100+ pic albums including all the copies/terrible/blurry pictures.
- The Atom Bomb: All of the above. The pinnacle of FOMO.
You’ll notice all of these people usually receive minimal likes and commentary, and own 100% of the available real estate on their personal newsfeed. When they do receive a like and/or comment it’s usually followed up with a reply/like immediately to ensure their FOMO is avoided.
BUT this is where it really gets interesting we love to hate the above user(s), we complain about them, threaten to block, unfriend or unfollow them. They help us to avoid our own FOMO because we think our lives are better than theirs. So in reality are we any better than the social media users we loathe?
In fact the whole system could be contradicting itself, I’m posting/sharing/commenting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and I think my content is pretty “aight.” I focus on quality over quantity. So is my FOMO greater than “The Atom Bomb” because I want to know the content I post is superior to his/hers?
…But I think what separates me from “The Atom Bomb” is that I don’t take these social media outlets as my personal resume. I think Baby Bro will agree with me on this, but I’ve never posted/tweeted/insta’d something that was meant to be anything other than fun. And that’s what it was/is supposed to be, fun.
Sometimes I feel like Facebook pages have become autobiographies and personal diaries (“Dear Facebook…”) Keep things close to the chest, don’t be afraid to not share it, have a story to tell someday to someone. A picture is worth a thousand words and that picture of me in Mexico had a story, and I didn’t tell it until just now. Just because you didn’t put it online doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. We’re in such a rush to get it all out there for FOMO that we lose the fun in sharing it. When you take these social media outlets to seriously, you’ll only fear missing out more.
I’ve spent the majority of 2013 outside of the US and FOMO is everywhere. I think I suffer more now than before because I see all these pictures of places I didn’t go this year and I get that feel that I missed out on something. The truth is I experienced more this year than any other year (I only shared a fraction of it online) so my FOMO should be non-existent…
Truth is, I love to hate the FOMO. I think it might actually be a good thing. I think the more I fear missing out the more I’ll get out there and experience things. So keep posting those annoying updates, filtered photos and keep reminding me how much better your life is than mine, you’re only making me want to get out there more and love every minute of it.