Ah… the world of acronyms we live in. I had to laugh when I heard about this a few weeks ago and, of course, had to take it on. Of late, these two acronyms have me on a mission.
In case you have not heard of them, FOMO stands for fear of missing out; JOMO, joy of missing out. LOL! In a minute I will get to why I am commenting about these. These acronyms were penned a while back. They got little attention at first, but as the world has started seeing more and more eyebrow-raising behavior around mobile phone usage, they are beginning to get on the radar screen.
I get a kick out of the acronym game. I swear that there are a bunch of socially isolated geeks in the bowels of Silicon Valley, getting a YouTube-like commission for every acronym that goes viral. Personally, I think we should have an acronym of the year award.
Anyway, these are two of the more interesting acronyms I have heard lately. Why? Because they refer to both social and technical issues. As well, they are affecting a large portion of, both, people and platforms.
Let us first talk about FOMO. I have to applaud the psycho-babble-ist who turned a smartphone neurosis into FOMO. The Urban Dictionary’s best definition, IMHO goes like this: “A form of social anxiety – a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.” Ahhh… social media websites.
Now that I understand what it references, I can tell you that this malady has been around longer than technology. I suspect it goes all the way back to the caveman days. I can imagine the first caveman who slept through the formation of the hunting party and woke up to find himself frantically trying to find them and catch up – and without a GPS smartphone…OMG!
In the Millennial, Gen X, Y, Z and iGen world, this is the best explanation I have heard, to date, that explains the glued to the smartphone phenomenon. If they put it away, they would have nothing but angst that they are missing a group gathering, a gossip conversation, a feelings meeting, ad nauseam. Now that I have a definition for so many of the actions I have witnessed, it all makes sense.
FOMO has got to have social media organizations salivating. I can just imagine what the marketing peeps at Twitter, Facebook, and the rest are thinking on how to capitalize and monetize FOMO to get the audience even more afraid of looking away from their phones (in spite of their outward concern of such a phenomenon). Imagine social media companies spinning that missing an event, whatever it may be, will leave the user disconnected and ousted with feelings of unbearable angst (even though some social media and tech organizations are claiming to take the social high road and embrace “off time”) – the horror… the horror.
Well, other than counseling, I do not see much that can be done to alleviate FOMO. I am interested in seeing how this is spun, going forward, in the media, tech world, and of course, Dr. Phil.
Anyway, so much for FOMO, for now. Let us move on to JOMO. JOMO is much more interesting. JOMO is like the “ooommm” of the sixties. A feeling of euphoric release from the silicon maiden that owns many a life, to a feeling of peace, love and serenity.
In fact, there are a lot of entities climbing on this bandwagon. JOMO is not a “psychological” condition as is FOMO. In fact, JOMO is precisely the opposite. It is an elated feeling of self-control and untethered freedom.
JOMO is attracting the attention of a variety of diverse players. For example, hospitality vendors are doing things such as offering a discount to customers willing to disconnect themselves from the always-on, always-connected shackles during their stay. Same with some restaurants. Can you imagine what joy could come from actually watching the sports event you are attending without having your nose stuck in your smartphone examining every action from an infinite set of camera angles.
And, can you imagine how much more tuned in your child might be if they were not FOMO-ing all day long about what their friends are doing and what is going on after school? And imagine JOMO while driving and actually paying attention to the road! The list goes on and on.
This has, also, gotten the attention of some of the players. For example, Google and Instagram are looking at installing tools to encourage you to be on them less. However, I have to question their sincerity (it is not like they are upstanding corporate citizens, anyway). Even with all the problems that have developed around social media, and the awareness of what effect it is having on society, nothing has changed and there is still no real pressure on them to change their behavior.
This ship has sailed and is so far out to sea, even the smoke from their smokestacks (metaphorically) is no longer visible. This always on, always connected psychosis will never be managed by the supply side. For years now we have talked about mechanical methodologies to stop texting and driving. Yet the best we have managed are ads and billboards.
If there is any hope of getting a handle on it, it has to be a self-initiated, society-driven program. But that takes us into the world of behavioral psychology, not wireless, so I am out! However, for the record, most of my friends, contemporaries, associates, even my permanent fiancé all whine that I am never by my smartphone. Ahhh… JOMO
Happy 2019, everybody, and may the JOMO be with you!