The modern world, dominated by digital technologies and a constant flow of information, has given rise to many new socio-psychological phenomena. One of them is “FOMO” – Fear of Missing Out, which is the fear of missing out on something. This term has gained popularity with the increasing influence of social media, describing the feeling of unease or anxiety that arises when a person believes they might miss attractive, exciting, or important events, experiences, or opportunities. It is a psychological phenomenon that affects people in various aspects of life, from social to professional.
The development of new technologies such as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and the metaverse adds another layer to this rapidly changing social landscape. These new technologies give rise to “FOMO 2.0,” an evolution of traditional FOMO, where concerns are not only related to missing out on real-world events but also in the dynamically changing digital world. For many people, especially younger generations who grew up in a world where digital presence is as important as physical presence, FOMO 2.0 becomes increasingly significant. It’s not just about missing a party or a social gathering but also about missing important events in the metaverse, not engaging in NFT trends, or not participating in crucial digital discussions.
The development of FOMO in the context of new technologies
Traditionally, FOMO was mainly associated with social life and social events, but the emergence and development of new technologies have significantly expanded the scope of this phenomenon. Nowadays, FOMO also encompasses the digital sphere, which is particularly evident in the context of two key trends: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and the metaverse.
NFTs, unique digital assets that can represent a wide range of items, from artworks to collectibles in games, have ushered in a new era in digital collecting and investments. This phenomenon has gained immense popularity, attracting attention in both the art and finance worlds. People began to experience FOMO not only with physical collectible items but also with digital ones, fearing they might miss the opportunity to acquire unique, valuable, or simply trendy NFTs. This phenomenon is especially noticeable among younger generations who are more familiar with the digital environment and more inclined to invest in digital assets.
On the other hand, the metaverse, understood as a collection of virtual spaces where users can interact with their surroundings and other participants, opens up new possibilities for digital experiences. These spaces, which may include games, virtual meetings, cultural events, or concerts, create an environment where presence and activity become significant aspects of social life. In the metaverse, unique events and experiences emerge, and missing out on them can trigger feelings of FOMO. This feeling is exacerbated by media coverage of metaverse events and discussions about them on social media.
In the context of these new technologies, FOMO takes on an additional dimension. It is no longer just the fear of missing out on real-life experiences but also the concern about being absent during crucial moments in the digital world. People increasingly feel pressure to keep up with the latest NFT trends, participate in metaverse events, or stay informed about the development of new technologies. This phenomenon indicates a growing overlap between the digital and real worlds and underscores the increasing importance of digital experiences in everyday life.
Psychological aspects of FOMO 2.0
Social pressure and status
FOMO 2.0 is closely linked to social pressure and perceptions of status. In environments where owning NFTs or being active in the metaverse are symbols of prestige, many individuals feel the pressure to keep up with new trends. For example, when a well-known person or influencer invests in a specific NFT, its value often increases, which can encourage others to make similar investments, motivated by the desire to gain a similar status. This phenomenon is particularly noticeable among younger demographic groups who are more active on social media and more susceptible to external influences. The fear of being “left behind” can lead to a sense of exclusion and isolation if one does not participate in these new digital trends.
Investments and speculation
Both NFTs and the metaverse are often perceived as investments. Many investors see the potential for significant profits in them, which can lead to speculation and risky financial decisions. For example, the rapid rise in the value of some NFTs, such as digital artworks or collectible tokens, has prompted many to invest in the hope of quick gains. However, such an approach, often based on emotions and the fear of missing out on opportunities rather than rational analysis, can lead to market instability and financial losses.
In the context of FOMO 2.0, technology and social media addiction play a significant role. The constant need to be online to keep up with news and trends can lead to excessive engagement in the digital world at the expense of the real world. For instance, individuals who spend a lot of time in the metaverse or on social media platforms tracking the NFT market may experience feelings of social isolation, sleep problems, or even mental health disorders. Technology addiction can also contribute to strained relationships with loved ones and neglect of professional or educational responsibilities.
How to deal with FOMO 2.0?
- Awareness and education
Understanding that FOMO is a natural emotional reaction is crucial. Education about new technologies like NFTs and the metaverse allows for a better grasp of their workings, possibilities, and limitations. This knowledge can help in making more informed and thoughtful decisions. For example, understanding the risks and characteristics of investing in NFTs can prevent impulsive emotional purchases. Similarly, gaining information on healthy technology use and coping strategies for digital stress can be beneficial.
- Limiting exposure to social media
Social media often exacerbates FOMO by presenting idealized versions of reality and creating an illusion of continuous, unmissable opportunities. Reducing the time spent on social media platforms, setting specific time limits, or using apps to monitor online time can help reduce the feeling of FOMO. Additionally, practicing conscious use of social media, which involves selectively choosing content and contacts, can also mitigate the negative impact of these platforms on well-being.
- Focusing on reality
Concentrating on the real world, not just the virtual one, can help alleviate FOMO. Engaging in offline activities, such as spending time with family and friends, participating in sports, or dedicating time to hobbies, can provide significant relief from the constant feeling of missing out on something important online. Building and nurturing personal relationships and engaging in activities that bring satisfaction and inner contentment can counteract the negative effects of FOMO.
- Maintaining a healthy balance
Finding a healthy balance between digital and real-life is essential. Establishing boundaries for technology use, such as designated screen-free hours or digital detoxes, can be helpful. Practicing mindfulness and awareness, which involves focusing on the present moment and consciously experiencing life, can also aid in disconnecting from the constant need to be online.
FOMO 2.0 is a natural evolution of the fear of missing out in the digital world. Understanding its psychological foundations and adopting a conscious approach to new technologies can help manage this phenomenon. It’s important to remember that behind every trend, there’s a person and their emotions, and a healthy approach to technological novelties is key to maintaining a balance between the digital and real worlds.