Power Reads

FOMO — Digital Envy as The Plague of The 21st Century

An important part of digital hygiene is getting rid of Fear Of Missing Out
Pavel Svetjolkin
Pavel Svetjolkin
Beeble Team member
March 6, 2024
Digital hygiene

It’s nice where we’re not

Do you have a lot of friends on social networks that you envy in a “good” way, but every time you want to strangle them in a “good” way when they post a new picture from the paradise islands?

Are you depressed, if you haven’t read the news feed in the morning and you feel like you missed something important?

Are you upset, if all your girlfriends had time to shop during Black Friday?

Did you miss an opportunity to make money on cryptocurrency while your friends were calculating the benefits (“Oh, I wish I could go back 10 years and buy Bitcoin”)?

Did you miss the play or presentation that everyone is savoring on social media?

Do you feel like a loser?

Then you are here — we explain what is FOMO. Which can be translated as “Fear Of Missing Out”, and which is one of the dark sides of our digital life. FOMO has been called “the disease of modern humanity”. Researchers confirm its prevalence in very different cultures — Israel, Poland, UK, New Zealand, India, China, USA, and other countries.

Symptoms of FOMO are observed in people aged 14 to 47 years old. Personally, I’m pissed off at young people who can spend hours in the gym on the machine you want, staring at a cell phone display and scrolling. But I can’t swear that I, an older person, am free from this affliction.

According to various studies, between 50 and 70 percent of those surveyed have experienced this sensation to some degree, with men suffering more often than women.

People with pronounced neuroticism — emotionally unstable and anxious — are more often afraid of being left by the wayside. The researchers also noticed that FOMO is associated with dissatisfaction with life, loneliness, and low self-esteem.

FOMO - Digital Envy - Scrolling

Boredom while scrolling

It’s also important to fight FOMO because the flow of information is growing rapidly, and information overload from social media and the Internet with a lot of digital services can cause decision paralysis and put you in a stupor. Especially since most of the news that is carried by the foam of news feeds has a negative connotation and can plunge us into despair.

“Epidemic” FOMO is a side effect of the proliferation of news sources and is part of social media addiction. We live in a constant stream of information about what other people are up to, mostly people we don’t even recognize when we meet them on the street.

We, like moths to the light, fly to embellished stories. After all, only the most beautiful photos, the most unforgettable trips, hairstyles, outfits, parties, meals, etc. are put on social networks. As a result, our own life seems dull and uninteresting to him, and our achievements — meager.

It’s not just social networks that feed the fear of missing out and using your personal information for selfish purposes. No — the network is swarming with professional “hunters” who want to capitalize on your fears — these are marketers who use our weaknesses as well as certified psychologists.

The result is impulse buying and a tenth pair of shoes you’ll never wear, an investment in financial bubbles. When we worry that we’re missing out on something interesting, it causes us to act quickly and not always successfully. And scammers and marketers use this to sell us something we don’t need. Additionally, you’re leaving an unnecessary digital footprint that potentially, could be used against you.

How to avoid becoming FOMO sapiens?

The best first step would be to recognize the problem and to follow simple rules of digital hygiene. Many people who are dissatisfied with their lives try to distract themselves from unpleasant thoughts with the help of social networks. Still, they drag them deeper into the swamp of envy and inferiority complex.

Strengthen the sense of real connection with others and with real life. When a person doesn’t have strong enough relationships in real life, they are often replaced by virtual ones. In the case of FOMO, this can only make things worse.

If you don’t have friends you can rely on, try to strengthen existing relationships or find new ones. Take the initiative, date, go out — other people suffering from “online loneliness” will be willing to meet you.

Fight the temptation to perceive the positive experience of others as evidence of your inferiority.

Be mindful of your current experiences rather than focusing on social anxiety. FOMO can be a springboard for turning personal failures into self-development.

FOMO - Digital Envy - Clean Up

Clean up your social networks

Leave only useful and enjoyable content, and strongly unsubscribe from everything else. Especially ruthlessly get rid of everything that feeds the “vanity fair” and kills your sense of self-importance. Believe me, the life of those who try to show it with pretty pictures is not so cloudless.

Limit the time you spend online. At first, it will be difficult, because it is like fighting an addiction, but after a while, you will notice how your mood will improve. Not bad to partial “diet” to replace complete starvation — completely disconnected from social networks for a while.

Good old paper

Instead of Facebook or Telegram, try to entrust your thoughts and experiences to good old paper. It will be more honest and intimate — it’s not like putting your thoughts out in public. It will help you understand yourself and your feelings better, and enjoy small victories more without having to prove anything to anyone.

Don’t forget the “thank you”

These practices have been more and more common lately, and it’s no accident. And not just lately — they’re essentially ancient prayers. Don’t run in circles of frustration and depression, be grateful for what you have: health, family and friends, a roof over your head, a job, the approaching spring (or fall), and new shoes. Gratitude in the form of affirmations is advised to be written down on the same paper or recited as a mantra.

Do not let yourself be deceived!

Notice the manipulations of salespeople. On all sorts of “the offer is limited”, “if you are not here, you are nowhere”, “because you are worthy of it”, etc. Important to pay attention to such emotional manipulation.

FOMO - Digital Envy - Sales and Offers

Make it a rule to pause before buying. Advertising forces you to make a decision quickly? — Take a break to think, elementary compare prices, what they were a month ago, and what they are in the competitors.

Realize that it is not important to get only the best, you can settle for what you already have and what is good enough. Then you will compare yourself less with others and feel more relaxed and happy.

Focus on your own goals and hobbies. Engage in them and don’t worry that you’re missing out on something. If your interests and values become your frame of reference, you’ll think less about other people’s lives.

Why are you listening to this stranger?

Imagine that the wishes you torment yourself with are told to you by a stranger: “You should read six books a month” or “Mary got her second degree, and you’re still sitting around”? “When will you finally learn to snowboard”? Would you want to follow such coercion? Why must you listen to this stranger, who is not even your friend or father!?

Replace criticism with approval: “Not going to the corporate party yesterday was the right decision. I’d have a headache today. I’m good at taking care of myself.”