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Lightbox Loves: FOMO

YOLO, JOMO, FOMO…. Which acronym do you identify with most?

Before you choose, there’s now more to add to the list.  Might you have FOBO (Fear of Better Options: a feeling that you’re missing out on potentially better alternatives)?  Or what about FOJI (Fear of Joining In: the fear of sharing things on social media that don’t garner a response)?

A Psychiatry Journal article highlighted that FOMO, and associated similar feelings, have been on the increase since the FOMO term was originally identified back in 1996.  Correlated with the proliferation of communication platforms and smartphone ownership, news and content has become ever more accessible.

Officially entering the dictionary in 2004, the FOMO term has become commonplace in conversation ever since.  However, while many scholarly articles focus on the negative or behavioural economic effects of FOMO, there’s also a positive upside to FOMO that’s often overlooked.

The science behind FOMO is pretty simple.  Losses loom larger than gains.  In fact, the pain of losing is psychologically considered to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.  But let’s not forget, it’s a perception, not a measured response.  And that’s where there can be a helpful benefit.

A perceived feeling of not wanting to miss out on something has the power to encourage action. Driving people to participate, to join in with others, or just to be a part of something bigger.

In times of social and economic uncertainty the role of community and experiences – both offline and online - that celebrate togetherness are incredibly powerful for making people feel happier and enjoy a sense of belonging.

There’s an opportunity for brands to fuel the FOMO in 2023 to celebrate communities big and small across the nation.  Dialling up the joy that comes from sociability and the positive impact of involvement and engagement.

Sources: Kahneman & Tversky, 1979, the7stars Lightbox Lowdown