Editorial: Millennials struck by FOMO

Living/Athens Editor

By definition, FOMO, or fear of missing out, is “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites,” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

FOMO is something that most everyone has experienced. Whether it be about missing out on a party, a movie, food or even class, it’s common for people to be nervous about missing out on the fun.

The concept of FOMO is nothing new in our society. However, it has only recently been given an actual definition by the Oxford Dictionary, with its origin being from the twenty-first century, according to oxforddictionaries.com.

One of the most common explanations as to why a person in our society would feel this way is due to the extreme use of social media. Most students are constantly plugged into Twitter, Instagram or Snap- chat, dying to know what others are doing.

This endless curiosity leads to the sinking feeling of FOMO when one sees another person doing something that he or she wishes he or she was also doing.

“Being a non-traditional student, and seeing friends that I graduated with on social media already living their lives while I’m still in school makes me wish that I would have already been done with school,” junior mass communication major Sam Negron said. “Without social media, I probably wouldn’t care as much, but I feel like it’s constantly in my face.”

However, one thing that most people who experience FOMO may not realize is that most users on social media accounts only post the best aspects of their lives.

Users want their followers to envy them in what they are posting, so they use filters on photos or leave out certain details of what exactly they are doing in a specific post. Associate Professor of Mass Communication Jennifer Arbitter explained that when she posts on Facebook, she doesn’t post depressing or negative things.

She said, “I want to portray that my life is the greatest ever, because who wants to read complaining posts?”

Experiencing FOMO can make people crazy. Young people today are so concerned with being a part of what’s new and hip, that they can become disconnected with their real lives. They choose to be on their phones texting or viewing social media feeds rather than being involved with face- to-face interaction.

Sophomore mass communication major Leslie Pritchett is concerned about the younger generation, as she has a cousin that is 11-years-old who is very involved in devices.

“She is constantly on YouTube during family gatherings,” Pritchett said. “She has a Macbook, an iPad and an iPhone 6, and she is always telling us to look at her device to see videos or pictures.”

FOMO has become a major concern for people in today’s society. It seems that there is constant worry that one is missing out on something that another person is doing, or jealous of what someone else has.

“It worries me that young kids are that obsessed with technology,” said Pritchett. “When I was 11, I didn’t even know what a cell phone was. I was more concerned with playing outside, rather than having my nose stuck in a cell phone or computer.”

To avoid this feeling of jealousy or longing, put down the cell phone because FOMO only exists when people let it. Next time someone posts a picture of his or her supposed grand adventure on Instagram, remember that it could very well be disguised by a filter and probably isn’t as special as that person is making it out to be.

Resist the fear of missing out by getting out there.