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Fear of missing out

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“Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO is a widely recognized term that describes the anxiety or apprehension one might feel about missing out on experiences or events others are participating in. This term, popularized by Patrick J. McGinnis and Dr. Dan Herman, has evolved significantly with the rise of mobile phones and social media[1] platforms. FOMO can manifest in various ways, such as stress, low self-esteem, increased screen time, and negative impacts on personal well-being. It’s also been identified in numerous contexts like social media usage, video gaming, and investing. FOMO has significant implications in marketing strategies, cultural norms, and even linguistics, with different variations of the term being used globally. Studies on FOMO have linked it to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and it plays a significant role in shaping societal behaviors and norms, particularly in the digital realm. Various coping strategies have been proposed to manage FOMO, including mindfulness and setting personal boundaries.

Terms definitions
1. social media. Social media is a broad term encompassing a variety of digital tools and platforms that facilitate the sharing of information and the creation of virtual communities. Emerging from early systems like PLATO and ARPANET, it has evolved into modern platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms offer unique features that differentiate them from traditional media, including the ability for users to generate content and engage in dialogic communication. They cater to over 100 million users globally and offer different forms of services, such as messaging apps and collaborative content creation platforms. The use of social media has far-reaching impacts on individuals, society, and businesses, influencing everything from marketing practices to political processes. However, it's also associated with ethical concerns, such as the spread of misinformation and potential addiction.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the feeling of apprehension that one is either not in the know about or missing out on information, events, experiences, or life decisions that could make one's life better. FOMO is also associated with a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, a memorable event, profitable investment or the comfort of those you love and who love you back. It is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing, and can be described as the fear that deciding not to participate is the wrong choice. FOMO could result from not knowing about a conversation, missing a TV show, not attending a wedding or party, or hearing that others have discovered a new restaurant. FOMO in recent years has been attributed to a number of negative psychological and behavioral symptoms.

Smartphones enable people to remain in contact with their social and professional network continuously. This may result in compulsive checking for status updates and messages, for fear of missing an opportunity.

FOMO has increased in recent times due to advancements in technology. Social networking sites create many opportunities for FOMO. While it provides opportunities for social engagement, it offers a view into an endless stream of activities in which a person is not involved. Psychological dependence on social media can lead to FOMO or even pathological internet use. FOMO is also present in video games, investing, and business marketing. The increasing popularity of the phrase has led to related linguistic and cultural variants. FOMO is associated with worsening depression and anxiety, and a lowered quality of life.

FOMO can also affect businesses. Hype and trends can lead business leaders to invest based on perceptions of what others are doing, rather than their own business strategy. This is also the idea of the bandwagon effect, where one individual may see another person (s) do something and they begin to think it must be important because everyone is doing it. They might not even understand the meaning behind it, and they may not totally agree with it. Nevertheless, they are still going to participate because they don't want to be left out.

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