I’ve spent the last year cutting back on the time I devote to the major social media platforms. The hardest parts of the process was dealing with FOMO–Fear Of Missing Out.
I’d been addicted to staying up to date and looped in. How would I get by without seeing Lisa’s latest food porn picture the moment it hits Instagram? What if a cool video of a toddler climbing a slide, or a link to an interesting article about rough and tumble play, or a pinned craptivity to complain about slipped by without notice? What if there was a Neat Thing happening that I didn’t hear about and then missed? Could I manage without reading all the posts about all the things?
It turns out I could manage.
It took time and it wasn’t easy. For example, after disabling nearly all the notifications on my phone it took nearly 6 weeks before I stopped feeling phantom notification vibrations and reflexively checking my phone.
As months passed, the phantom vibrations stopped and I settled into my new normal. I now engage with social media when I choose and on my own terms. As the FOMO subsided and my social media time declined, I’ve become more productive, more content, and less frazzled. More time and energy goes to activities I enjoy and value.
Yesterday morning, I realized my raging FOMO had evolved into a happy JOMO–Joy Of Missing Out.
The final in a series of free local concerts was scheduled for last evening. FOMO reared its head and screamed for just a moment–This is the last concert of the summer! Summer is almost over! Winter is coming! Don’t Miss Out!
I messaged Tasha, my wife, to see if she wanted to go. I said I kinda felt we should go, but that there were also plenty of reason not to go. She was pretty ambivalent, and we decided to decide later.
As I went about my day, I realized that I really didn’t want to go and wished I had not even mentioned it to Tasha. There were plenty of other things around the house I’d rather give my time and attention: there was writing to do, and pond frogs to watch, and tomato plants to water.
Me: “Did you want to go?”
Her: “No, I’d rather just hang out here with you.”
Me: “OK, good”
We had a quiet evening at home together and didn’t give the concert another thought– Give me a J…give me an O…give me an M…give me another O…what’s that spell? JOMO! Yeah JOMO!
I’m sure the concert was enjoyable for the people who chose to be there–but we didn’t miss anything. We were where we wanted to be doing what we wanted to do.
What’s your relationship with FOMO and JOMO? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.
FYI: As near as I can tell, Anil Dash coined the term JOMO in this 2012 post.