WebMD has diagnosed you with a severe case of FOMO

Date: 6 August.

Location: Rokk Ebony hairdresser, getting my balayaged mane tamed. And I feel about 13 years old as mum has offered to pay (obviously, even via FaceTime, the mane is not looking so hot.)

Shall we talk about FOMO? Rhetorical question. Of course we shall!

For the uninitiated: you know that feeling when you’ve had a heck of a week, you’ve been out every night and you may be mildly hungover so you make the amazingly liberating decision to tell the world to eff off for just one night and to stay home on a Saturday night in your Uggs, drink tea, eat Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations in the bath, finish that epic Margaret Atwood novel and get A Good Night’s Sleep and you’re all smug about your virtuous choice but then you start getting a niggling feeling, an awful niggling feeling that maybe, just maybe, you ought to have gone to those drinks at The National because, well, it is awfully close by and you never knew who might be there and, anyway, the girls would be there and what if it turned into one of those epic nights out where you ended up at Revellers at 3am with a tie around your head and only one shoe and you loved those nights and who needs A Good Night’s Sleep — what are you, a octogenarian!? — and perhaps you should just drag your sorry self into the shower, put on some Nars Red Square lippy and socialise like a normal twentysomething instead of hibernating like some crazy cat-lady spinster so you check your Facebook to see who’s doing what only to discover that your entire circle of aquaintances lead a glittering life of fabulous travel and partying and that someone just met Rihanna at a gala, the girls are doing shots already with people you don’t know, half the old law school gang is on Sail Croatia and are so tanned they could pass for Kardashians, and that guy you used to date is loving life in his new job as a surgeon for orphans in Barbados and you’re at home in your duck-print onesie drinking goddamn tea? That’s classic FOMO. The oh-so sinister Fear Of Missing Out.

FOMO, I think, has always existed in one form or another. It’s an incarnation of the infamous ‘Grass Is Always Greener’ effect. But social media has really done a number on us.

In a world where we all have access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, it’s becoming second nature to market ourselves. It’s become a game.

  • You get points for travel, how many depends how far flung the locale (Sydney = no points) and how frequently it’s previously appeared on a Facebook newsfeed (New York = measly points. Petra, Northern India, deepest Bolivia? Lots of points for you!) and how creative your pose (smiling in front of Big Ben = yawn; planking on the bridge with Big Ben in the background = points blitz!)
  • You get points for artsy photos of cups of coffee with witty captions, or for selfies with your significant other (ed. note: though, you should be aware that this gets kinda annoying), for beaches and boats and anything involving a French bulldog.
  • You can lose points too, of course. 1000+ friends? Lose ten points. Invite me to play CandyCrush Saga? Lose 100 points. Post about your baby/flu/public transport more than once a week? I don’t know how many points you lose, because I will have blocked you.

In this way, it’s kind of fun. The flip side though, is that it’s clear when you’re ‘losing’. When you have no palm trees to Instagram, no cool bar to checkin to, no celeb sighting to Tweet. I can’t get started on this as it will turn into a poorly-written rant that entertains no one. I’m simply going to observe this phenomenon, note that I’m as guilty as the next Gen-Yer of it and make a conscious effort to dull its effect: I declare Sundays to be Social Media Free Sundays. I’m sorry world, you’ll just have to go without the filtered Insta shot of my scrumptious Sunday breakfasts from now on. I think we’ll both live.

#socialmediafreesunday? Kidding.



(Post inspired by the lovely Kim of Open The Dawe).


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