Do You Have the “Fear of Missing Out?”

Studies Determine that Generation Y Suffers From “FOMO” as a Consequence of Social Media

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, has been around for as long as humans have existed. But as society moves into a technological era, FOMO has increased.

Kaitlin Grotto, senior graphic design major, describes this feeling. She said, “I get worried that I’m going to miss out on the fun and the inside jokes that my friends might have from the time that I’m not around.”

Grotto continued, “Have you ever been hanging out with a group of friends and they’re talking about a memory and all laughing and you weren’t there so you felt left out? That’s what I never want and why I have FOMO.”

Although the fear of missing out is not a real psychological disorder, it is a syndrome that the Millennial Generation and the generations to follow will have as long as social media exists.

The fear of missing out on what? “Everything!” said Matt Pisano, senior.

FOMO can range from the fear of missing out on a cup of coffee with a friend to missing out on a spring break trip. A group of University seniors said things like not going to the bar, missing happy hour, committing to a relationship, visiting family instead of being at school, not going on vacation when others are, and missing mall trips are all things that cause FOMO.

The Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other forms of social media are all enablers of the fear of missing out. Technology has increased the need for people to express their lives publicly, which makes FOMO so much harder to deal with.

Senior business major Meghan Fitzsimmons said, “I don’t remember having this feeling as a child. I always felt like I was in the loop. I guess FOMO didn’t kick in until college. I really started using social media a lot which I guess impacted me in some way.” Fitzsimmons later said, “If my friends were out and I wasn’t, I’d be thinking about what my friends were doing and how I was going to miss out on the fun, and more importantly, the pictures they were going to take.”

Dating is affected by the fear of missing out and driven by social media. Noelle Hozumi, 2010 graduate, said, “When I’m on a date, I check my Twitter feed. It’s not that I don’t want to be there, but I want to know what other people are doing.”

According to a study conducted by JWT intelligence, a marketing communication company, many felt that their lives were stuck in “overdrive.” Many also said they felt the need to keep up with the latest trends including fashion, restaurants and travel.

Sara Kaufman, senior, said, “I am always refreshing my feeds on social media. I like to know what’s going on at all times. I even do it while I’m driving.”

FOMO doesn’t just affect college students. Samantha Dickson 25, said, “I never had FOMO in high school, or even college for that matter. I definitely have it now though.”

Dickson later said, “I’ve been working at my company for three years now. We are always invited to up-front parties and fun things to do in the city. I have to be up and ready the next day for work but I go out anyway because I’m afraid I’ll miss out.”

Fitzsimmons said, “It’s not easy to deal with, but you get used to sleepless nights and being broke so you can be with your friends and make memories you would have missed out on. I’m hoping I’ll be able to control it more once I graduate and start a career.”

There has been an increase of people being affected by the fear of missing out according to the research of JWT Intelligence. This study also found that as of now the only cure to FOMO is disconnecting from all social media, something that doesn’t seem easy to many people in this generation.

Eight out of ten seniors at the University said they wouldn’t cut off their relationship with social media to cure their problem with FOMO.

As the term FOMO continues to circulate, it may be possible to find more information about how to solve the syndrome that affects so many people in the current generations and generations to follow.