When was the last time you totally and absolutely missed out on something and didn’t have a chance to relive it? Elsa’s party the other week that you couldn’t get the time off work to go to? Nah, you’ve seen the pictures on Instagram and so you feel you’ve experienced it. Or your little nephew Gregory’s birthday party that you weren’t at as you are off living a totally fabulous life being wooed by incredibly handsome foreigners in some far flung, exotic country? Well no not really because your dad emailed you a video of the “Happy Birthday”.
Obviously there are lots of things that happen every day that we’re totally unaware of but the big headlines, both personal and private, are ones that never really pass us by any more. There’s always some documentation that something happened, some proof that this occasion took place. Social networking profiles are flooded with images of things that happened: birthdays, nights out, concerts, leaving dos, weddings, christenings, scans of your womb. If you can’t make it on that girls’ holiday your mates are having then you don’t truly miss out because you (and your friends’ networks) get to live the experience in real time. It’s almost as if you climbed the 1665 steps up the Eiffel tower yourself.
And it’s not just personal events that are available at the click of a button, if you miss an episode of something on television you can catch up on it almost as soon as it’s finished. It used to be that if you missed something on telly and forgot to tape it then it was tough cookies. If you were incredibly lucky then your mate might have taped it and she’d loan you the video but if not then that Spice Girls interview on breakfast telly that you asked your mum to wake you up for and then shouted at her when she did and you huffily went back to sleep was lost forever. You’d never know what Posh’s favourite nail varnish colour was. Now, the idea of not being in control of when to watch an episode of Parks and Recreation and having to leave it up to the TV scheduling gods is crazy. I’ll never miss out on Parks and Rec. Even if I have to wait a year until the boxset comes out, I’ll still see it.
So I don’t really think we are afraid of missing out on things (FOMO) because if we truly missed out on something then we wouldn’t know about it at all, we’d be living in blissful ignorance. No, the problem sometimes is that we don’t miss out on the goings on of everyone’s lives, that we don’t miss out on seeing Fred’s ‘epic’ party or Gertrude’s ‘amazing’ open-mic night. I don’t think it’s Fear Of Missing Out that we have, I think it’s Fear Of Seeing Events That We Really Weren’t That Interested In In The First Place But Now They’re Splashed All Over The Internet We Wish We’d Gone To Them Even Though It Probably Would’ve Been Average-To-Good At Best. But FOSETWRWTIIITFPBNTSAOTIWWWGTTETIPWBATGAB just isn’t that catchy an acronym. It probably wouldn’t fit across a T shirt.
Featured image via ShutterStock