You could be suffering from FoMo this Christmas
The holiday season can be a traumatizing time for many people, but spare a thought (or retweet) for those who strive to be a part of the cultural zeitgeist at the expense of all sanity and reason.
For these individuals, fear can be an incapacitating emotion caused not by spiders (arachnophobia), the colour white (leukophobia), or a fear of the numbers 666 (hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia), but rather a fear of missing out (FoMO).
In looking for a possible explanation, lets get phenomenological and consider a few scenarios that will typify the connection between Christmas marketing and FoMO.
It’s early August and a day after your partner’s birthday. No sooner has she finished scanning copies of the receipts of all the presents she’s going to return, she has already shared with you 12 carefully curated Pinterest boards of iPhone-filtered photos and inspiring infographics filled with French Bulldogs, hanging gardens, super-food smoothies and cute-ique travel destinations. All just in time for Christmas.
We know that some individuals are deeply concerned with how others view them on social media, and are careful with the content they share with their world. This may explain the social media-friendly present options, but it doesn’t go far to telling us why a celebrity cookbook is even thing. Or does it?
Like many teenagers, Johnny opens up his last present under the tree. His parents watched their RSS feed with bated breath all of November, stumbling across a blog article covering “26 Greatest Presents for Teens“.
While they did expect to click through 26 inane images with snappy hyperlinked taglines, they could never have anticipated that the joy Johnny will receive from using his new Bluetooth-controlled Quadcopter is no match for the 50 likes he will get for his Instagram post posing with the new pressie.
Our friend social media
Recent research suggests that individuals use social media purposefully, for reasons such as presenting themselves in ways that gain social capital, and that those who exhibit higher traits of FoMO have an “unhealthy” relationship with social media. In Johnny’s case, it’s hard to disagree.
At its core, social media reinforces connections within networks while strengthening communication among friends and family members. While this might explain the reasoning behind Johnny’s LinkedIn endorsement for “Mother” – a symbol of ultimate gratitude to his mum – sometimes Christmas can bring out the strongest of fears.
As you open up an awkward Christmas present and pose for the obligatory family photo with bonbon-extracted paper crowns, uploaded straight to your aunt’s Facebook of course, perhaps your FoMO becomes a favor of missing out.
In this sense, some believe social media serves as a means for users’ emotional support. Considering the inevitable “digitally fuelled deluge of updates” symptomatic of Christmas-marketing induced FoMO, perhaps we should all stuff our stockings with some social media support. – Rappler.com
Associate Lecturer in Marketing, Curtin University.