Thoughts on FOMO

We recently heard about Barbara Kahn's recent research on "FOMO" or fear of missing out. This ubiquitous acronym used frequently by teenagers is defined as: "when one views photos of a missed social event, on social media, which leads to both diminished enjoyment of one's current experience and greater expected enjoyment of the missed event." 

We've spent a lot of time here at Camp Gloss brainstorming the effects of social media on the influential brains of younger generations, and we've incorporated a mindfulness practice into our program as a sort of antidote. This research article really gives substance to what we've observed in our young women. When we're at an event and we're looking at photos of another event, we enjoy our present experience less, and we create a fantasy about how great the event we're not at is. Sounds like a pretty undesirable situation.

Ironically, the "fear of missing out" actually leads to missing out. Researches in the study explain that the fear of missing out actually stems from a desire to belong. Essentially, individuals experience FOMO most when they believe that they may be missing out on some sort of group bonding or group experience that will differentiate them from other members of the group. Ahhh, so it all comes down to belonging. 

This research demonstrates that using social media while being social actually diminishes pleasure. Is it time we all put our phones down when we're engaging in social activities and save the social media for down time or in-between time? Here at camp, we're creating an offline culture in order to enhance present moment fulfillment. We'll let you all know what the campers report...

Original FOMO article & research:

Jacqueline Rifkin, Chan Cindy, and Barbara Kahn (2015) ,"Fomo: How the Fear of Missing Out Leads to Missing Out", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 43, eds. Kristin Diehl and Carolyn Yoon, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 244-248. 

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