Another dot in the blogosphere?

Overcoming FOMO with JOMO

Posted on: April 4, 2018

FOMO is short for the fear of missing out. It is one of the reasons why Facebook will weather the big and small storms that comes its way.

People want to stay in the know, but there is a line between staying informed and unreasonable obsession. FOMO helps you cross that line.

Recently I had to resist FOMO. An acquaintance of mine used WhatsApp to reconnect people I used to know almost 30 years ago.

The platform was a bad choice — I got pop-up notifications immediately unless I muted the channel. Even after muting, the app icon indicated how many messages I missed. WhatsApp is designed to create and feed FOMO by push (notification) and pull (unread messages) factors.

Some of the adults in this group behaved no better than children. They did not set expectations, shared information and photos indiscriminately, and created more noise than signal.

I did not add signal or noise. I followed my golden rule of observing and listening first to evaluate the worth of joining that community. I was tempted to jump in when my name was mentioned and to correct stories based on flawed memories. But I did not take the bait.

The more I observed, the more I realised that the medium was affecting the messages and amplifying inconsiderate behaviours. The group did not practice WhatsApp-tiquette. I hinted gently and indirectly by making that URL part of my WhatsApp profile blurb:

I’m not deaf, I’m ignoring you

What pushed me to leave the group entirely was how it would generate over a hundred messages over a short period. It was so distracting that I missed an important message from an individual that mattered.

I value quality interaction over quantity. I value my time and sanity. I overcame WhatsApp FOMO by prioritising what was important to me. I practised JOMO — the joy of missing out.

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