What is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?

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Person waving hand in crowd: What is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?As technology continues to creep into every aspect of our lives, do you ever feel that you are getting left in the dust? Or constantly in a state of updating your operating system on your devices? Websites are being created constantly and technology is ever evolving – how do you keep up? In this article we take a look at a term called FOMO (short for Fear of Missing Out). Technology gives us constant connection to what friends and the world are doing but this could make you feel that the world is passing you by and you are missing out on the “next big thing.”

What is FOMO?

To learn more about the “fear of missing out” (aka “FOMO”) watch the video below.

Many fear they are going to miss out on the next big discovery in terms of technological breakthroughs. What would it mean if they did dismiss the next big thing? There is the possibility that staying ahead of the latest technology trends could lead to nothing. But there is the occasion where being an early adopter or “trendsetter” leads to something big that sparks the FOMO in all of us that we weren’t among the first.

The Information Super Highway

The internet is important because it provides a single method of providing information instantaneously. Without constant access to or knowledge of what is happening online there are those that have access to information and those who do not. Part of the panic that accompanies this FOMO is this feeling of being behind that accompanies not having access to information instantaneously.

The Progression of Technology

In an age of technological revolutions, as we step into one new technological breakthrough a million more seem to follow. For some, these new discoveries bring excitement and revolution. But for others it can be terrifying. With each new program release and new product upgrade comes yet another thing to add to your to do list and learn. It also may mean a list of new terms and technologies to understand. For non-tech savvy or super busy people this can be extremely overwhelming.

Why Is The Fear of Technology Such a Big Deal?

If new technology scares you why not just ignore the technological revolution and keep doing things the way you’ve been doing them? This seems like the logical solution, particularly for those of older generations. However, being ignorant of technological advances is not a particularly practical solution. For those who have not yet reached the age of retirement many of the current job positions rely upon not only knowledge of technology. Further, understanding how to utilize these technologies gives you an advantage over candidates with other similar skills.

Knowledge of Technology is Crucial

In early 2000, many occupations found themselves separate from the technological demands of the job market. However, this is no longer the case. There are virtually no positions of employment in the current job market that do not require knowledge of technology in some form or another. For example, social networking sites like as Facebook can be used for various aspects of work. From conducting background checks on employees to utilizing social networking for advertising. And many fast food chains and retailers are now using iPads as their Point of Sale (POS) system.

Tackling a Fear of Overload With Technology

Ironically, there are a number of applications designed to help those experiencing extreme information overload. The simple click of a button can control the amount and type of data that an individual receives based on their personal settings. While these services are designed to help target information delivered to individuals and consequently reduce the anxiety that can come from information overload and feeling “behind in the times,” they can also contribute to FOMO. Some of the most influential applications and services designed to help individuals are taking part in stealth launches and invitation only opportunities and in turn these can lead to a feeling of not being “good enough”. Individuals that do not receive an invitation to try out the newest technological advance may feel that they are already being left out and are falling behind the times. There are also tradeoffs – the more you use technology, the more you are opening yourself up for identity theft, privacy invasion and other new age problems. Be sure you understand that the information you post to the world can often be literally seen by the world. It is hard to hide when the internet sees all things you post to it or allow it to discover about you. Protect yourself with privacy settings, especially on social media sites.

The Rapid Progression of Technology

The rapid progression of technology shows no signs of slowing down, in fact if anything it is moving faster than ever. From social networking to simply keeping in touch, staying on top of technology is crucial. The Internet itself, first introduced in 1991, has become such a commonplace technology that virtually every household in the United States is connected to it in some form or another. Google, launched in 1997, is now such a popular technology that Googling has become a commonplace verb and has virtually replaced the use of public libraries by students worldwide. Facebook, launched in 2004, is such a popular tool that it is used for recreation by the majority of the population in developed nations and for marketing businesses around the globe. These are among the thousands of methods available online for keeping in touch with the newest trends and technologies that continue to expand worldwide.

Reducing The Fear of Missing Out

So just how do we go about reducing FOMO? Like most other anxieties, it is important to first establish just why the anxiety exists in the first place. Secondly, it is important to understand that the “big” technological breakthroughs will still be around next week or even next month so don’t fret. Just embrace technology in the boundaries you set and know that it will be there for you for a long time to come. No rush!

Do you suffer from FOMO?

About The Author:

Sadie graduated from the Moody School of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Advertising and minor in Business. Her love of travel started from an early age – on her first international adventure she traveled solo to Japan while in grad school to visit her hometown's sister city. During college, she studied abroad in Spain and since then she’s traveled to Europe, Latin America, and regularly throughout the U.S.

Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

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