The name Anil Dash may not resonate, but we have him to thank for many things… among them, the idea that it’s ok to miss things, and that there is joy in not being a part of everything you see and read on social media.
In his blog, he writes, “I’ve been to amazing events. I still am fortunate enough to get to attend moments and celebrations that are an incredible privilege to witness. But increasingly, my default answer to invitations is ‘no’. No, I’m not going to go. And when well-intentioned hosts inevitably point out ‘You’re going to regret not coming!’ I won’t say it out loud, but I’ll probably think, ‘No, I really won’t.'”
JOMO is anti-FOMO
Think of JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out, as an antidote to FOMO,or the Fear of Missing Out. And that, Dutch philosopher Svend Brinkmann says, is a product of today’s consumer culture. “I think we should see this predicament in light of consumer culture, which we have created for ourselves,” he says (via Vox). “Our culture depends on us constantly wanting more, constantly buying more and doing more. To be satisfied nowadays is almost a vice, because it means you’re content with what you have and therefore you’re not already chasing after the next thing. Today, for example, we talk a lot about personal development, about lifelong learning and the ability to constantly develop your competencies. But I see this as part of the same vicious cycle of wanting more, wanting new stuff, and always feeling the need to do things differently or better.”
JOMO can mean going through a tech detox
Psychology Today sees social media channels like Facebook to Twitter as triggers for FOMO, because by seeing status updates and tweets, we potentially experience a fear that we could be missing out on something noteworthy. This fear is heightened by social pressure, which comes from the need to be at the right place to be with the right people.
In order to practice JOMO, we only need to live in the moment, and that means making the effort to meet face-to-face instead of engaging through social media and saying “no” to non-essential activities and tasks, such as attending parties and events or taking unimportant phone calls. Making peace with saying no, living in the moment, and enjoying the pleasures of home, then, are key to employing JOMO.
Most importantly, JOMO can mean disconnecting from tech in general, and social media in particular — because you don’t really need to know what everyone is doing and thinking right now, do you?
Dash feels adopting JOMO has allowed him to take back control over his life. “Being the one in control of what moves me, what I feel obligated by, and what attachments I have to fleeting experiences is not an authority that I’m willing to concede to the arbitrary whims of an app on my mobile phone,” he writes. “I think more and more people are going to retake this agency over their feelings about being social, as well. That’s a joyful thing.”
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