FOMO Culture

Article by: Won Ho Song

The most recent addition to our Oxford English Dictionary is also one of the most widely used words today. FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out) – has become one of the most prominent expressions in teen jargon that defines the 21st century adolescent culture.

From an outsider’s perspective, this word almost sounds alien. However, the word is the embodiment of this generation’s greatest obsession: integration. In this day and age, one must be perpetually in the loop, at the center of the intertwining webs of social media, culture, and events. For this reason, it is no surprise that the most profitable businesses of our time are ones such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. These apps are undoubtedly masters of social media. It isn’t an uncommon sight to see a teenager’s phone inundated with an influx of notifications from these apps. This sort of phenomenon has cultivated a habit in teens, an uncontrollable yearning for constant social updates. And thus came the word FOMO.

The gravity of this word is undeniably formidable. Whenever someone misses out on an event – regardless of the reason why – they will inevitably be at the mercy of FOMO. One pivotal reason fueling this fear is the existence of social media. The time it takes for photos or videos from an event to appear on these apps is almost nonexistent, much like the willpower it takes a person to restrict himself from constantly checking the updates for what he is missing out on. For this reason, it would be accurate to say that the social media apps were the catalysts of this modern phenomenon called FOMO.

Often times, when one is feeling the full effect of FOMO, he will lament his absence at that particular event. This feeling isn’t necessarily a bad one, since it is human instinct to crave a sense of community, but the sorrow from FOMO should be minimized. It is inevitable for one to experience the feelings of FOMO since it is impossible to be present at every hangout and party. Should one find himself feeling down from FOMO, he should just accept the fact that he will miss out on some of the fun and move on. An effective solution to this would be to stay away from social media that stimulates such sensations.