At a recent all-hands meeting my colleagues were perplexed by the acronym FOMO. As one of the token millennials in the room, I knew what it meant.
Fear Of Missing Out.
While the acronym may not be familiar to everyone in the room that day, the feeling surely is. Social Media is often named as the culprit with it’s endless feed of envy & guilt: highly curated, heavily photoshopped Instagram feeds; a Facebook newsfeed full of engagement announcements, new babies and desperate cries for attention; an endless Pinterest feed of enviable outfits, flawless meals and apparent super-human mommy bloggers; a Tumblr feed full of….well, fandom, juvenile humor and porn.
Granted there is some inherent irony in this post, with my full-time work as a Social Media Specialist. In all truth, that position is what allows me to reflect so thoughtfully on the subject. In my work I live in the social media realm, commenting, liking, sharing. Understanding the nuances of a social media user and what drives their actions on these platforms is the nature of my work.
At home, I begrudgingly log into social media platforms. Usually, once someone has texted asking what I thought of the post or picture they shared/tagged me in. (“ummm…..let me check…oh. how nice!”)
In my pursuit of a more meaningful minimalist lifestyle, I have already unsubscribed from every email subscription I received that wasn’t a blog that taught me something valuable. The shopping sites are catching on, sending me last ditch emails entreating me to make four more purchases by February 2nd to keep my Ruby Insider status. Pity the gal who lets her Ruby Insider status lapse, right? FYI, you get nothing, actually nothing, for earning these points and earning Super Sparkly Platinum Shopaholic Insider Status. Aside from occasionally free shipping if you spend eleventy billion dollars.
I get a lot of mixed emotions over my social media accounts & email subscriptions. The social sites especially are, at best, considered a necessary evil. Without Facebook, how would I connect with friends in random cities, let people know I broke my phone (again) and see who got fat after high school?
There is some intentional sarcasm above, in case you missed it. It’s a lot like getting rid of that sweater you never wear (because it makes you look fat), but can’t bear to get rid of (because you paid too much for it or it may eventually, magically, not make you look fat).
The conflict I am having is between my pursuit for less; less distraction, less clutter, less wasted time, less stuff. And my desire for more; more meaning, more intention, more experiences, more happiness (in my weaker moments, more shoes).
I am trying to find what value these apps/distractions add for me in my day to day life. Is it beneficial to see someone liked my photo on Instagram? Do I even care? Still trying to figure that one out.
(The video that sparked this query on the meaning of FOMO is here, if you are interested it is fabulous)