Did you know that 35 million people view a public event on Facebook EVERY DAY! (*)
That is 405 event views per second… all day… every day.
And that’s just Facebook.
This figure doesn’t include websites like Eventbrite, or those posting about where they are or what they’re doing on other applications like Snapchat.
Or a gang organising a get-together on WhatsApp.
It is now easier than ever to meet up, and post about what we’re doing on social media.
But the fact is we are lonelier than ever, and this amount of event posting, social updates online and living life through a lens has created a society of FOMO. (**)
The official definition of FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out.
It was originally coined in the 1990s, and has taken on a somewhat different slant in our now digital age. It means you fear that you’re missing out on something A-MAZING by virtue of being surrounded by constant updates of what’s going on where you are not!
And the sad part is – people even report feeling FOMO when they’re already somewhere they want to be, with people they want to be with, but they’re checking online and seeing something else that might be better. But they only feel this illusion as they’re not there.
So it’s a vicious cycle.
Now, a new concept has developed and it might just be the perfect antithesis of FOMO.
It’s called JOMO – or the Joy Of Missing Out. JOMO is defined as “the gratifying feeling you get when you break away from the (real or virtual) activities of your social group and spend time doing exactly what you most want to do”. And in my opinion it doesn’t just mean being on your own. You can experience JOMO in any situation, and I’ll give my tips below.
But first, a quick story…
A couple of years ago, I saw an image online that really bothered me. It was of a crowd lined up behind a low barrier, watching their favourite celeb walk up a red carpet. And almost every single person (bar one older lady with grey hair) was watching through their phones.
No-one was looking for a handshake or an autograph.
Apart from this woman, no-one was just taking in the moment and being present with this fantastic instant in their lives. They were recording the event on their phone. They were probably going to share it (along with the hundreds of others who were also recording it) on social media, where their friends and followers would have a quick look (and probably have momentary FOMO)… and then the moment would be lost forever. Recorded on the screen, of course, but the actual real-life moment would be gone.
And since then I have vowed not to record gigs, events, shows or anything else on my phone.
I feel that, in the long run, what’s going to stay with you longer? The feeling you got at that moment, when you were experiencing something, together with the other people there, and it could only be experienced right there and then? Or a picture or video that you share, really just for the sake of sharing, but you missed the connection with the moment?
So that’s why I’ve decided to write an article about how we can get our JOMO back. How can we start to enjoy that feeling that we’re present in the moment we are currently in, whether we are alone or with others?
Here are a few tips:
1. Don’t quadruple-book yourself. I see this happening a lot these days. People make plans, and then something “better” comes up so so they agree to go to that, and then a last-minute ticket for a gig appears and all other plans go out the window. And not only is this not fair to the people you made the original plans with, it makes you hyper-aware of what is going on and what you’re not at. Like if you go to a gig because you got a ticket, but it turns out that you’re not enjoying it, you know that there are at least 2 other things on that you can go to. So you check what’s happening with those things online, and you see that one of your friends seems to be having lots of fun at the other thing. So now you’re not enjoying the gig at all, and you just want to be at the other thing. And how is that conducive to a good time?
2. The next event you go to – it could be a few drinks with pals, or a gig, or a theatre show, or sponsored event – don’t use your camera, or any apps that use the camera function. It is not necessary to document every aspect of our lives. And to be honest, it isn’t the best way to experience the full enjoyment of where you are at that moment. So keep the camera off. If you think you might forget, here’s a little tip. Put a piece of paper or card over the camera inside your phone case and a sticker on the selfie lens. That way, if you forget yourself and go to take a picture, you’ll be met with a blank screen, and then you’ll remember your photo ban.
3. Turn off social media notifications for the duration. Don’t be tempted to check your phone for other people’s updates. Why half-do whatever you’re doing by checking what else is going on? That’s a sure-fire way to ignite the FOMO. So switch off the notifications and forget about it.
4. If you’re with a group, make a pact with your pals. Tell whoever you’re with what your plan is, and try to get them on board with it too. If they’re not whipping out the camera every twenty seconds, or scrolling while there’s a lull in conversation, then it will be easier for you all to be in the moment together. And that’s what it’s all about.
5. There are lots of ways to use the myriad of media out there to give the appearance of something amazing happening. Just look at the Fyre festival fiasco! That was the ultimate advance FOMO illusion (until it actually turned out that it was just that – an illusion). So remember that what people post online is usually a skewed version of reality to try and make it look better than it is. Don’t fall for it! Enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Remember that enjoying the moment is a choice you can make.
Photos from https://steemit.com/life/@k-a-s-i-a/boldspirit-phones-vs-reality-through-my-eyes, https://www.reddit.com/r/ExpectationVsReality/comments/93qp74/social_media_vs_reality/ and https://youtu.be/XcYZ5IwnkDo