Experiencing FoMo Linked to Social Media

By Brooklyn Dance

Paige Suckley, a freshman nursing major, heard about Trevecca’s silent disco at the beginning of second semester and thought it sounded fun.  None of Suckley’s friends wanted to join her,  so she didn’t end up going.

Later, Suckley saw Snapchat stories of others having fun at the silent disco and quickly became upset she didn’t attend.

“They were all singing and dancing and I love singing and dancing and it made me wish I would have gone,” Suckley said.

Now, Suckley said she tries to go to every event so she never has to experience that feeling.

“This is when I first realized I had FoMo,” Suckley said.

Suckley isn’t alone.

According to experts both on and off campus, FoMo, or the Fear of Missing Out, is real.   The term was first coined in 1996 by Dr. Dan Herman, but has become more popular in recent years.

FoMo is most commonly understood as the fear or anxiety that an exciting event may be happening elsewhere, which is often caused by seeing posts on social media websites.   So, when a person is content and then sees that friends or family are doing something else on social media and feels worried that they are missing something important, they are experiencing FoMo.

“The recent rise of social media and the developments in mobile devices’ technology increased exponentially our immediate awareness the myriad of options available to us,” Herman writes on his website fomofearofmissingout.com.

 

Bailey Pantoja, a counseling intern at Trevecca, said the Trevecca students she sees certainly deal with FoMo and then potentially other mental health issues as a result of the worry of being left out.

FoMo is a good starting place for anxiety and depression, she said.

 

“Depression can start when we compare ourselves to others,” Pantoja said.

 

Brianna Barkey, a junior psychology major, attributes her FoMo to being a night RA, especially on nights when she has to sit in for lobby duty.

 

“I think I have been able to accept it more.  It doesn’t take away from experiencing the FoMo,” she said. ” It’s just acknowledging the fact that I don’t want to miss out, rather than being super anxious that an event is about to happen and I’m about to miss out.”

 

Barkey sometimes asks her friends who went to events if it was fun or not, in hopes they say no, so that she feels better about not being able to go.

 

Experts have suggestions on how to deal with FoMo:

  • Accept things are happening without you
  • Block the distractions, for example, turn off notifications and silence your phone, especially while driving
  • Limit visits to time consuming FoMo-inducing websites
  • Relish the present.  Meditate, or make a list of life priorities
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