There was a time, not that long ago, where you say “I’ll call you when I get there.” It seems like such a simple statement but is put in the lexicon of historical relics for now we must stay in touch no matter where we are or whom we are with.
Technology has produced wonders of 24-hour news, weather, sports, entertainment and most important communication. Our microwave mentality must have immediate gratification or be frustrated.
Yet there was a time when everyone didn’t need to know where you were or what you were eating or even who you were with. If the car broke down you’d have to search for a pay phone or ask to use someone’s landline. If there were several choices of tomato sauce, the personal decision of which brand was made without consultation. If an artist performance was being observed; it could be appreciated without constant interruptions and annoying distractions.
These devices are helpful to make last minute business decisions or record breaking news but what happened before when you had to wait for the mail to arrive or the evening newscast? Newspaper gave up verified documentation of events and happenings from previous days but it was the best there was. Conversations with friends caught us up on what they have been doing since the last conversations.
Now we have FoMO.
Fear of missing out or FoMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”.
This social angst is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.
FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying events.
In other words, FoMO perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time, as “you can imagine how things could be different”.
Self-determination theory (SDT) asserts that the feeling of relatedness or connectedness with others is a legitimate psychological need that influences people’s psychological health. In this theoretical framework, FoMO can be understood as a self-regulatory state arising from situational or long-term perception that one's needs are not being met.
With the development of technology, people’s social and communicative experiences have been expanded from face-to-face to online. On one hand, modern technologies (e.g., mobile phones, smartphones) and social networking services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) provide a unique opportunity for people to be socially engaged with a reduced “cost of admission”. On the other hand, mediated communication perpetuates an increased reliance on the Internet. A psychological dependence to being online could result in anxiety when one feels disconnected, thereby leading to a fear of missing out or even pathological Internet use.
As a consequence, FoMO is perceived to have negative influences on people’s psychological health and well-being, because it could contribute to people’s negative mood and depressed feelings.
Are we better off today helping Sally pick out her prom dress or the latest picture of Fido or that silly video of grandpa playing games with little Billy? Could we put them into a scrapbook or journal to enjoy later?
Test your FoMO.
1. Gather some friends for drinks (Wi-Fi available of course)
2. Have all your friends put their phones on the table
3. First one who picks up a message, tweet, call, text, email, etc. PAYS THE BILL!
Are they checking their phones?