FOMO or The Fear of Missing Out. When you say it out loud it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Like YOLO and I feel pretty damn dirty even just typing that.
I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of the term FOMO until I recently watched a 3 year old episode, of the John Oliver show, about cryptocurrency. It might seem like just another tween language term, but it’s very real and, in my opinion, extremely dangerous.
Since then, I’ve been hearing this word EVERYWHERE. I don’t know if that’s because I’d just become enlightened to the term (which I wish I hadn’t) or if it’s being used more now because of the suppressing sweep of the pandemic.
Unlike YOLO (ugh), FOMO has been on the mental health radar for (at least) 7 years as an anxiety issue. If you want a deeper understanding of FOMO, just type it into your search bar and be amazed at all the articles that pop up, like this one. However, it’s been suspected that this phenomenon was coined in the year 2000 by a marketing strategist. Who would have thought!? A marketing strategist coining a term that would spark a fear and a feeling of NEED NEED NEED NOW NOW NOW!
It could be argued that FOMO is a good thing and in retrospect, it very well could have been. Such as in ancient times when being part of a social group was necessary for survival. That doesn’t ring true, however, when we’re shopping for something and suddenly a screen pops up that says: HURRY NOW, ONLY ONE 1 LEFT! GET 10% OFF IF YOU BUY IN THE NEXT 5 SECONDS! Only to find out later that they have a warehouse full of the stuff and that popup is programmed to go off regardless of stock number.
Can you see the difference?
I know that I am guilty of FOMO tendencies, too, but if we really sit back and start to analyze things, we may be shocked by just how much this marketing gimmick has control of our lives and the very nature of the world around us. This includes The Art World.
Just look at the sudden boom of NFT! Almost overnight this trend skyrocketed, and the art market was flooded with dreams of becoming wealthy overnight. Suddenly, my email was bombed with solicitations to invest in NFT and cryptocurrency and to do it NOW because it may be my last and it’ll be my fault if I miss out. Talk about a fucking guilt trip!
This type of mentality takes control of our logical minds and forces us only to think emotionally. We see stars or dollar signs or whatever, but don’t take into account the impacts such behaviors can have on our well being which includes the environment (NFT/Crytocurrency/blockchain is DESTROYING to the environment.)
I could probably talk all day about FOMO and the dangers it can inflict, but I won’t. At the end of the day, it’s our decision whether we want to jump on this marketing bandwagon of fear and anxiety.
For me? I think I’ll just stick to the things that are really important in my life and opt out of the craze of douchey acronyms.