Monday, October 29, 2012

Diagnosis - FOMO?

I had lunch with a couple of friends on Friday afternoon; one of them, having read my blog (caused by my guilt trip no doubt), laughed and said "dude, you have FOMO."
"What the hell is FOMO?" I replied.
"It's the Fear of Missing Out. It's like a Dr. Phil thing or something" he said.

Obviously given my new little Facebook experiment I had to do some research on this FOMO business. Now, I'm sure I'm late to the party with this (given the amount of articles, blogs, etc. that I was able to locate), so I won't get into the nitty gritty details of what FOMO is, outside of the self-explanatory acronym. If you want to research a bit more about the the condition, there's a great article here. Oh and for the record, I didn't find any Dr. Phil FOMO info. Screw that guy anyways.

Fear of Missing Out? What on earth could I be fearful of missing out on? I thought about my Facebookoholism. What types of behavior did I exhibit while on Facebook? I was certainly an active user; it's safe to say that I posted status updates or photos at a minimum clip of five times a week. However my "checking" Facebook behavior was far more frequent, into the five times an hour arena, if not more. At first thought, it's pretty easy to assume that I had FOMO. After all, doctors nowadays pretty much tune you out after the first couple of symptoms and diagnose you regardless of what comes next. My initial self-diagnosis is FOMO.

FOMO, according to the articles I found, is social media related, it is not Facebook specific. This prompted more thought; I'm not cutting off social media, do I need to? Am I just putting off the inevitable? Is something else going to be my new Facebook? Will I now reach for my phone in the morning to check something else? From a social media standpoint, I use the following: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. I also use some very cool apps that link them all together. I would have to say that if anything fulfills my FOMO, it would have to be Twitter. Twitter, to me, is real-time information that tells me what's going on right now. Through those that I follow, I'm certain not to miss out on anything that I care about. So if it is FOMO that I'm suffering from, I'm still going to suffer as long as I'm viewing my Twitter feed. For this reason, I'm claiming my Facebook experiment is not caused by FOMO - diagnosis debunked.

For me it started off as wanting deeper connections; this was about me and the people that I have in my life. Is there the possibility that I miss out on something that someone I care about is doing by not being on Facebook? Absolutely. Is that a risk I'm willing to take? Absolutely.

The other day I called one of my friends:

"Hello" she said.
"Hey what's up?" I asked.
"Oh nothing, I'm just sitting in a chair getting my nails done. I'm having a girls day to myself...didn't you....Oh that's right you're not on Facebook anymore" she replied.

Didn't see it on Facebook, didn't miss out. Had a great little conversation with a friend and found out what she was up to the old fashioned way.

I spoke to another friend the day after I had attended a Halloween party:

"How was the party?" she asked
"It was fun, they did a nice job" I replied
"I saw that picture, that was a funny costume" she said
"What picture?" I asked
"Oh yeah. It was posted on Facebook so you didn't see it" she answered.

I guess even when I'm not on Facebook, I'm on Facebook. Only this time, there was no fear of missing out, I was living it. And not once did I feel the need to update my status, post a picture, or otherwise.

This is getting easier.


  1. Ok...I am, in no way, trying to convince you that you should turn your facebook account back on. However, you're making me really think about all of this now too, and I'd like to share my (only partially thought out) perspective. Facebook, to me, is all about staying connected and ‘living the details’ with others. When I am catching up with my BFF, for example, I get the download...sure. But I am privy to even more real time moments captured of her daughter from facebook. One of my childhood friends had posted that she was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. Maybe she didn’t feel like re-telling the story over and over... got it all out there in a swoop.....and... she received an outpouring of constant support, advice, and love. How can that be so bad? We are able to share love, laughs, struggles, children growing up, weddings, people passing, vacations, shared interests... whatever we want... so easily now. Facebook is a reminder that life goes on outside of ourselves. It is WAY too easy to get overly wrapped up in work, stress, and our own existence. Could Facebook even be a stress relief?... a way to grab a quick smile, connect with someone for a moment, to hear a thought that may be interesting? Could FOMO be re-acronymed as “Feeling of Reaching Out” ? Is the blue button really an obsession? Maybe you simply like people and the sense of feeling connected to them :-)

  2. ...which would make it FORO, instead of FOMO! (It's late) :-D