Are you one of those people that aren’t satisfied with the number of
your Facebook friends, even if you have more than the average number
of 190 as I mentioned in an article last week for ReadWriteWeb.
Are you always checking your Facebook page to see what your friends are doing?
Do you get the feeling you are missing out on something big when you
choose to stay home rather than get all dolled up for a night out on
If so, you might be suffering from FOMO, for fear of missing out. This
isn’t a new phenomenon, and has been extensively quoted in a number of
blogs and newspapers, including an article in last week’s New York
Times. But as we move into the end of year holidays, it can be a
“If you’re honest, the things you miss out on don’t always sound as
amazing as other people say they are,” says Sophia Dembling writing on
Psychology Today’s blog. She goes on to talk about how social media,
like many things, is both the creator and the cure for FOMO.
Perhaps some of it is just envy. Just as in middle school, we want to
be among the popular group, the trendsetters. This reminds me of the
Morrissey video, We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful. (A
modern musical version, perhaps, of this maxim by François VI, Duc de
La Rochefoucauld: “In the misfortunes of our friends, we take no small
pleasure.”) Of course, in middle school back in the day, I was more
outcast than popular. I was the kid getting picked on out in the
playground during recess. Nerds hadn’t even become a key stakeholder
group back then.
In another RWW article asking about how often you are on Facebook, the
number of people who check their Facebook pages hourly surprised me,
meaning that it was too low an estimate.
In my experience, it is almost continuous monitoring for the
20-somethings that I know. It is now de rigueur to place your phones
on the table when you go out to eat, so they can be available at a
moment’s notice. This indicates to me that someone would rather not be
present, no matter where they are.
Back in the olden times when we didn’t have cell phones, restaurants
brought landline phones over to your table when you were expecting an
important call. Only movie moguls did this, however.
So here are some suggestions for taking a holiday break. Close the
laptop. Set your phone on vibrate. Go read a book and enjoy the
solitude. Or go someplace new with a friend, and just focus on each
other. Watch a movie and really focus on what is going on with it.
Live in the moment and enjoy what you are doing. Even for just a few
minutes each day.
Call it a FOMO break. But before you do, please take a moment to add a
comment or thought here.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.