F.O.M.O. or "The Fear of Missing Out"
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the feeling of
apprehension that one is either not in the know or
missing out on information, events, experiences, or life
decisions that could make one's life better. FOMO is
also associated with a fear of regret, which may lead
to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for
social interaction, a novel experience, a memorable
event, or a profitable investment.
I have a problem with Social
Media. It stems from my underlying depression. With social
media, I can create a persona that is similar to me, but is
designed to be a much more symapathetic overview. To what end?
The more replies, likes, boosts and other buttons, the more
my head gets a tiny little dopamine kick. String those along for
enough time and it becomes habit. The problem with this, though,
is that while dopamine is all well and good. It doesn't keep you
coming back. That's where FOMO comes into play.
"A challenge is that the part of our brain that
reinforces behaviors is stimulated by novelty; social media
scrolling always promises something new with the next
Dr. Michael Jaffee, director of the Neurology Sleep
Clinic at the University of Florida
Forget drugs! Scrolling Reddit, Twitter or Mastodon allows
you to get that "just one more" satisfaction.
Infinitely. That makes it not only hard to quit, full stop, but
also hard to just put down.
For me, it wasn't something I could handle responsibly. I
tried, like the author, to do things like:
While app developers want to keep you engaged for as long
as possible, most of them do offer tools to limit screen
use. So I did what I don't think (anecdotally) many people
do — I set up time limits on my social media apps like
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to help manage my screen use
before bed with the hopes of getting more sleep.
Sometimes it worked and I would surrender my phone to my
bedside table, irritated but also appreciative of the sweet
relief of darkness on my eyes. But other times I would plug
in the passcode, ignoring the tinge of regret that pinched
my stomach and knowledge that my future self would be angry
— and tired — in the morning.
Katie Camero, BuzzFeed News Reporter
Only to ignore the rules I had set for myself and just plow
on, unhindered. It was really surreal the first few times, and
pretty much automatic by the time I had my blow up. For me, the
problem wasn't lack of sleep. It was the crumbling relationships
I had ignored for too long. Worse than being tired or cranky, I
had to deal with real human issues around my additction. I still
I feel it still. The need to post pithy little comments.
Engage in conversation and insider's humor. Every time, though,
I need to understand that it's not that important.
Especially it's not important enough to interrupt family time,
or other important events, where I should be present.
To that end, I am seeking professional help for my addiction.
I know I need help, and now I'm going to get it. Maybe one day
I'll be in control enough to re-engage with social media, but my
suspicion is that I am going to have to treat this like
Alcoholism and just abstain.