FOMO (fear of missing out) has always been evident within humans, but with increased use of social media, the fear can become more prevalent and can have consequences.
The fear of missing out is described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” This feeling has caused problems in friendships for decades since the concept ‘FOMO’ was first introduced. Parts of our brain actually deal with the specific feeling of being left out. However; with the amount of connectivity millennials and future generations have with social media today it has allowed you to take more of an inside look at other people’s lives and daily activities.
Apps like Snapchat and Instagram are constant reminders of your peers’ accomplishments and daily activities. They have taken social to a whole new level with the current features and creative outlets for people to share. Snapchat’s stories are one of the most personal look at daily activities that people partake in. They show you moments that happened at an exact time during the day, and allows you to keep track of what your friends are doing over the course of the day. Some people share more than others, however.
For example, whenever someone goes to a concert, their Snap stories are usually filled with videos of blurry lights, loud music, and weird ongoings in the crowd during the concert. People having a less
eventful night who wished they were at the concert can be triggered to be in a constant “checking” mode. This is a function in the amygdala, a part of the limbic system in the brain. Not feeling included is enough for the flight or fight response to take effect in the brain. This occurrence is only going to happen more in the future with the new ways social media will create to share things.
Why does this matter?
Feeling this way excessively actually leads to increased depression and anxiety. The whole process essentially becomes a slippery slope, and it happens often nowadays in young adults. Bringing awareness to what ‘FOMO’ causes in people is very important, especially in summer months. So this summer, make sure to be inclusive with all your friends. Some people who experience ‘FOMO’ take things very personally, which can lead to an overabundance of unnecessary drama. Most of us have probably experienced ‘FOMO’ in one way or another, and it’s not a fun feeling. Don’t be the person to deny someone a good time this summer. Food for thought.