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Do You Have FOMO? (Fear Of Missing Out)

You can see it happening all over the twitter stream for #BlogHer12… people talking about parties, bemoaning the lack of invites to the parties, and generally being in a frenzy about wanting to be included in every single moment of every single party.

Why is this true? I’ve finally got a diagnosis: it’s FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”

FOMO is widely prevalent in the mom blogging community; we’ve talked about professional jealousy — wondering why you were left out of the pool of bloggers for that sponsored post opp, or why you weren’t invited to that special event (Disney conference? *sniffle sniffle*).

But it’s never worse than during conference season, particularly BlogHer, when everyone begins asking, “Did you get the invite to ___________?”

It can definitely feel crappy to be left out of what seems to be the “cool” club in the mom blogging community (and, for the record, I personally get invited to nearly none of those “special” parties around BlogHer, and after my post about outboarding and the ethics of offsite events at blogging conferences that number is going to be even smaller, I suspect). But it turns out that social media may actually increase the rate of FOMO, according to this infographic (infographic created by the fine folks at timeRAZOR). After all, if social media allows us all to discuss what we’re doing every single minute of the day, no wonder everyone else feels like they might be missing out.

This article at Psych Central even goes so far as to call FOMO an addiction.

It’s an impulse control problem — we cannot easily control our impulse to “check” the technology to ensure something “more important” isn’t waiting our immediate attention.

The reality is that there are few things so truly important in life, they can’t wait. Sure, I understand it if you’re the President of the United States — you have a legitimate reason to check your texts during dinner. But everyone else, not so much. We’re succumbing to our FOMO when we do so.

Ouch. I know when I go without checking into my social networks for any length of time it can become somewhat of a compulsion to get online “real quick” to see what’s happening. While I’m not sure that really qualifies as an addiction, it’s certainly a compelled behavior.

What do you think? Do you have FOMO? Is it worse for you during conference season?

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