A news reporter chased me down on the Upper West Side the other day asking whether I could share my thoughts on FOMO. I had no idea what he was talking about.
“FOMO, you know, the fear of missing out! Doctors are diagnosing kids with FOMO more frequently nowadays because schools aren’t allowing kids to have their smartphones in class all day. They start to suffer from anxiety and lack of concentration for not being able to keep up with what their friends are doing,” the reporter explained.
My initial reaction was, “Oh, the cruelty!” for not allowing a smartphone in class. When I was in business school, the only way I could get through the torture of Operations Management class was to play online poker tournaments online! My phone and laptop allowed me to feign supreme concentration as I practiced my poker face. Shhh, don’t tell my professor.
The skeptic in me kicked in as I asked the reported, “C’mon, FOMO. Really? Just another new catchy term for an age old affliction coined by therapists to make some extra bucks. How can there really be FOMO when everybody on Facebook is always on permanent vacation? Friends are always checking into wonderful restaurants and clubs on Foursquare, which of course is connected to Twitter and then back to Facebook just to make sure everybody knows what they’re up to. Our amazing lives are fabulous!”
UNDERSTANDING THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT