Do you have FOMO?


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Sounds like a disease, right? Oh, it is. FOMO is the “fear of missing out,” as the New York Times cleverly reported this past week. The cause: Facebook – and other social networks that can’t notify you enough of what your friends are doing.

The availability and accessibility of content has caused an uproar “socially”; many people think their life is boring when comparing it to other individuals’ posts – whether it be an update, photo, or video of a concert, new baby, etc. I, for one, get rather envious when I see a particular “friend” post updates of his trips to Costa Rica to swim in the hot springs, or the fact that he sold not one but two houses in a couple hours as a part-time realtor on top of his full-time gig. It’s these types of posts that make people nauseated.

Thinking about the life my wife and I have, we’re both very busy. She’s got school, and I’m racing around like mad trying to keep up with the demands of digital and my clients. There is hardly any room for a trip to Costa Rica or Puerto Vallarta, the spot where we honeymooned almost a year ago. Sigh.

As Web-based interactions have really forced a blurring of professional and personal content-share, you too are undoubtedly a bit annoyed by the glamorous life some of your single colleagues and friends are living, as you’re seeing it all broadcast over your mobile device while you sit and eat dinner at home with your spouse on a Friday night.

What’s the solution to rid yourself of this FOMO you’re feeling? Take a hiatus from social networks for a month. I have one more week to go from taking a fast from Facebook (not for Lent either) and it’s been rather refreshing. While I have likely missed out on some big announcements, I have been able to separate myself from not only the posts that foster envy, but also the posts that are full-on drama. People love to complain on Facebook, as they’re hoping others can relate to or “like” their situation. Regardless of FOMO or drama, a break from social networks is good every now and then. Come April 16, I’ll be back on Facebook with a note about what I learned from my month-long hiatus.

The next time I see a post that tries to give me the FOMO bug, I think I’ll just suck it up to life being a bunch of trade-offs. In the world of social, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Have you caught the FOMO bug? If so, what’s been your cure or are you desperately searching for a cure?

Tim Otis is Supervisor of Social Media and PR for brand marketing agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB) in downtown Minneapolis. A five-year integrated and big idea marketer, Otis enjoys pitching media and teaching clients how to use social media effectively and responsibly. Apart from his work at GdB, Otis enjoys blogging, speaking, and writing songs for he and his wife to sing. You can follow him on Twitter @timotis.

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