Have you ever tried to stay home on a Friday night, studying for your test on Monday, when you feel a sudden pang of anxiety seeing your phone flash, your Twitter refresh, or a “mupload” appear on Facebook? This feeling is known as FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” It is the feeling that whatever you are doing, someone out there is having a better time with better people, and well, you’re not one of them.Many of us collegiettes may think that this is a syndrome that only affects the college social scene, but it is affecting people of all ages. Its cause? Social media.
Although FOMO is not a new condition, social media has allowed us to get updates on what our friends are doing, who they are seeing, and what their plans are for the night, around the clock. In the New York Times, Kevin Systrom, Chief Executive Officer of Instagram, discusses how humans are not used to seeing the world as it happens, which makes it difficult to process the information as we receive it. With websites like Facebook, not only can you have FOMO about what happened yesterday, but you are also able to see instant status uploads and mobile photo uploads of what is happening right now.
Even live streaming updates, like Twitter, can make you a green envious monster when you read about what people are doing at that exact moment.
FOMO doesn’t only apply to activities and events, but also achievements and opportunities. According to Businessweek, many people have FOMO about job and career opportunities. Whether it is signing up for too many classes, or trying to attend every information session on campus, FOMO has even leaked into our educational and professional lives. This type, however, deals more with fear of missing out on internship opportunities, networking opportunities, and promotion opportunities.