My iPhone is generally within my reach from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. I wouldn’t consider myself a person suffering from a Fear of Missing Out (FoMO), but when I took a quiz to test out the waters, the result was an embarrassing and dreadful, “FoMO Level: High.” (Let’s be honest, I’m snapchatting my friends as I’m writing this article right now.)
Despite all the jokes associated with the coined acronym, FoMO is a very serious social anxiety problem. In fact, a recent survey by MyLife.Com revealed that 56% of teens today are afraid to miss out on status updates, events and news if they are away from social media. As the level of our connectedness has grown over time, so have our social anxiety problems.
Our day-to-day schedules have subconsciously allotted time slots for checking some form of social media almost every hour. As for hours of consumption per day, in 2013 the University of Southern California estimated that the average person consumes around 15.5 hours of media per day by 2015. Now, how many of those hours are spent on checking in on other people’s lives and informing others on our own?
Assuming that wi-fi or data is on, we can post photos, videos, and text to all sorts of social media platforms almost instantaneously. With just one tap on the screen, all friends and followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be green with envy once they’ve see you’re in Greece. And once you’re in beautiful Greece, you can be dissatisfied with the fact that you aren’t in your old “been-there-done-that” town at events you’re missing out on.
FoMO stems from the mindset of “someone else is experiencing or doing something more enjoyable than I am.” Senior Kathleen Early thinks that “snap stories make FoMO a lot more of an issue because often people post snap stories to brag about what they are doing, and it makes everyone else feel major FoMO.”
It’s true. As reported by two marketing interns from the University of Kentucky, using social media to find out more about people, like stalking an ex or comparing ourselves to others, creates the most of our FoMO stress. As humans, we often feel the need to be social. But social media has heightened that need resulting in all of this anxiety. We feel the need to be involved and find out about others lives through checking in on their social media accounts.
Whether you realize it or not, FoMO is all around us. Senior Rahil Kapur said, “I think FoMO is prevalent at SAS due to the exclusivity you see on social media.” He also mentioned that “it makes other people feel bad.” Some of us are letting these social connections control our lives.
Do we have the power to overcome this issue? The answer is YES. We all have the power to eliminate this anxiety if we just take the time to focus on enjoying what we have right here and right now.
Here are some ways to deal with FoMO, according to Life Hacker:
You need to accept there is someone that will be doing something more fun than you are. Realize that there will always be another party, or another event. This isn’t the only one, and it’s not the end of the world.
Block the Distractions
Avoid checking social media, or install the Self-Control app.
Enjoy the present
Don’t fuss about what isn’t going on, and make the most of what is happening!