Are you one of the many people who suffer from FOMO? Even when we know that everyone spins their lives in a more attractive light on social media, it is sometimes hard not to feel a twinge of fear of missing out as we peruse the virtual lives of friends who seem to be doing much more exciting things than we do.
FOMO has always existed, but pre social media it was more difficult to know what you were missing out on because everyone wasn’t busy posting pictures of their good times on Facebook and Instagram. Social media has brought FOMO to a whole new level.
Andrew Przybylski at the University of Essex has researched the phenomenon, producing a test to check levels of FOMO including:
• I fear my friends are having more rewarding experiences than I do.
• I get anxious when I find out my friends are having fun without me or didn’t invite me.
• I get anxious when I don’t know what my friends are doing.
• It is important that I feel like an insider and understand my friends’ ‘‘in jokes.’’
• I wonder if I spend too much time keeping up with what is going on with my friends on social media.
• It bothers me when I miss an opportunity to meet up with my friends.
• When I have a good time it is important for me to share the details on social media.
• When I go on holiday, I still keep tabs on what my friends are doing so I know what’s happening.
If your response to these statements is, ‘Yes. Quite often’ then it may be time to do something about it. This term, our sister GDST school in Wimbledon engaged in a campaign that they branded JOMO (Joy of Missing Out). You can read about what they did here in the Times Educational Supplement:
https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/how-school-embracing-jomo-joy-missing-out Fionnuala Kennedy, the deputy head at Wimbledon High, told students:
“Choose, just from time to time, to actively miss out. Think: I’m going to have a week off WhatsApp to see how not being bombarded with messages makes me feel. Think: I’m not going to worry about not being invited to the party that everyone else seems to be invited to and seems to be having such an amazing time at – if the party’s so amazing, how come they have time 40 minutes in to post 400 pictures? I am going to enjoy my time to myself – the JOMO for every moment of this evening because I am doing what I love doing. For me. Because I am enough.” Brilliant advice.