Welcome to FoMO (Fear of Missing Out), the latest cultural disorder that is insidiously undermining our peace of mind. FoMO, a spawn of technological advancement and proliferating social information, is the feeling that we’re missing out on something more exciting, more important, or more interesting going on somewhere else. It is the unease of feeling that others are having a more rewarding experience and we are not a part of it. According to a recent study, 56 per cent of those who use social networks suffer this modern plague.
…Freedom from other people’s opinions and release from social comparison is a triumph reserved for very few. The self-discipline strong enough to withstand the power of FoMO is no less rare. In 2012, the University of Chicago social psychologist Wilhelm Hofmann studied the use of willpower to resist daily temptation: his participants found it far easier to abstain from food and sex through willpower alone than to stay away from online networks, where the failure rate was 42 per cent.
I am here to preach the saving grace of moderate misanthropy. When you realize that most of what you read online is superfluous garbage, and that most people aren’t worth the time it takes to get to know them, this onerous burden will dissipate into nothingness like so many instantly-regretted and quickly-deleted tweets. But perhaps you weren’t fortunate enough to be born with a natural resistance to the company of others. In that case, I would recommend maximum indulgence. The only way out is straight on through the other side. Go ahead, join all the trendy social networking platforms, try to sample every empty-calorie viral story, try to be au courant with every lulzy meme. Be like a kid trying to scarf his entire bag of Halloween candy in one sitting. As you later kneel, retching into the toilet, just think of your discomfort and regret as weakness leaving the body.