The Fear Of Missing Out

Apr 12, 2011

On Sunday, the New York Times business section introduced me to a new term: FOMO, "Fear of Missing Out."

It's a fever fed by social media sites like Facebook, on which we are more or less constantly aware of other people's happiness. They're watching a sunset over a bay in Ireland. They're at a wild party. They just had a beautiful hike and now they're getting ready to curl up in front of a fireplace. Whatever they're doing, it makes some of us wonder whether we're squeezing hard enough on the orange of life. Are we getting every last drop of joy?

There was a time when, for the most part, you didn't know this kind of thing. You might sit home on a Saturday night wondering if people you knew had gathered in some delightful way without you, but you didn't have to look at pictures the next day ... on Facebook, everybody is just a little bit happier than you are.

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