The new FOMO

Psychologists say it has always existed, but with the emergence of social media it has become one of the most common apprehensions of our time. The FOMO. If it worries you that you may be missing something that your friends are enjoying and you are not, you may have the so-called FOMO syndrome. The name comes from the English acronym fear of missing out , or what is the same, an unfounded fear of missing something.

When leisure was not linked to the internet – just 20 years ago – FOMO was felt by young people punished without going out for a weekend or by adults convalescing after an illness. That time without sharing experiences with your friends, colleagues or family was never recovered and those who for a time were ‘social isolates’ suffered thinking that they had lost forever what they had not experienced. But it was exceptional.”FOMO comes from the English acronym ‘fear of missing out’, or what is the same, an unfounded fear of missing something”.

Today, thanks to the internet, it is becoming too normal to suffer that anxiety about lost ‘digital moments’. The video on Tik Tok that all your friends comment on, the meme that sweeps WhatsApp, the Instagram story that has moved your family or the Twitter thread that even makes the news. If you have missed those experiences you have nothing to talk about, or at least that is what many of the FOMO candidates think.

This new syndrome also appears when the Wi-Fi does not work or you have lost coverage on a trip. But it becomes pathology when it distresses you to be doing something other than following your social networks , in a way and in a way that anxiety prevents you from working, playing sports or even resting. 

That time without checking your mobile devices prevents you from being up-to-date with virtually everything that happens and begins a vicious cycle of addiction and lack of rest that leads to extreme situations. Some studies say that two-thirds of network users suffer from it in some way. Others talk about its consequences, such as lack of concentration , since we spend a maximum of nine seconds of attention to what we see on the internet. “Thanks to the internet, it is becoming too normal to suffer that anxiety about lost ‘digital moments”.

Do not think that because you are not a teenager this does not affect you. Or that if you are a sensible professional you are free. Not much less. Do we not have symptoms of FOMO who cannot start the day without reading several newspapers, browsing several information sites or checking our favorite press summary?

Fear of losing something is what many economists feel these days. The IMF report that raises the fall in Spanish GDP, the appearance of the governor of the Bank of Spain with new data on the crisis, the new forecasts of the OECD confirming the collapse of our country… not to mention the editorials of Financial Times or The Economist. Actually, I think my fear is not because I miss your reading, but because I read what you can say about the dark future of our country. That’s my new FOMO.