FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out

What is FOMO?

“FOMO” stands for the Fear of Missing out, a psychological trigger humans can’t help responding to. According to a study of the phenomenon, FOMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” In the practical and digital world, FOMO is the urge to constantly check your social media networks to find out what your friends are doing. 

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This phenomenon can be used in marketing as a great user incentive. After the Snapchat first launched “story” feature with disappearing content, other social networks followed the FOMO hype instantly. Brands worldwide are using this phenomenon to craft messages that will trigger the audience’s innate fear of missing and make them more likely to act!

It was not the form that changed (video, photo, GIF, all mixed together), but the users perspective. 24 hours to watch it or it’s gone forever! This sounds like an ultimate social media game that users like. And just like all good things, the hype shed to Facebook and Instagram as well as in new trends of video marketing.


Picture 1. FOMO is strongly connected with the use of social media

When Did FOMO Emerge?

The FOMO effect has presumably been with us for centuries now, but it has been studied only in the past few decades by Marketing Strategist  Dr. Dan Herman. His research began in 1996 when he observed the FOMO phenomenon while listening to consumers talking about products at the focus groups and during the one-on-one interview. 

Despite a large number of business categories being discussed, most consumers mentioned a common theme of their fearful attitude towards the possibility of missing an opportunity and the joy that could come from it. Dr. Herman found this to be a new development in consumer psychology and continued to research FOMO as a socio-cultural phenomenon.

How to Minimize the FOMO Effect?

In order to minimize the effect of the FOMO, you can take a couple of steps. The first step to minimizing the FOMO effect is in detecting that greater social media engagement can lead to us feeling worse about ourselves, not better. Once you come to realize that, follow these steps to minimize the effect of it:

1. Change Your Focus

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have right at that moment. Easier said than done with social media feeds where we are bombarded with things we don’t have. Add more positive people to your feed and keep your feeds curated. 

2. Keep a Journal

Don’t post your happy and fun moments on social media. Rather, keep it memorized in your journal.

3. Seek Out the Real Connections

Rather than trying to connect more with people on social media, why not arrange to meet up with someone in person?

4. Focus on Gratitude

Engage in gratitude-enhancing activities like gratitude journaling or simply telling others what you appreciate about them in order to lift your spirits as well as those of everyone around you.

JOMO Instead of FOMO

Though FOMO is strongly connected with the use of social media, it’s a phenomenon that can happen to people of all age groups and profiles.

Sometimes it can simply be useful to remember the things you’re grateful for in your life, instead of regretting something you haven’t experienced or don’t have. Instead of FOMO, try focusing on JOMO – the joy of missing out and keeping your thoughts on what really matters in your life. 


Picture 2. JOMO mindset

Pal looking over an object

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FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out was last modified: May 8th, 2021 by Milica Vujasin
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