Fear of Missing Out = FOMO

By Jonathan Sherbino (@sherbino)

Welcome back!  Here at the ICE blog we enjoyed a bit of time off in anticipation of a big start to 2014.  Writing groups, national and international consultations, strategic planning etc. are underway for CanMEDS 2015 .  Final prep for the International Conference on Residency Education (see their blog and twitter account for more info) is being completed.  And planning for the Social Media (SoMe) Summit in Health Professional Education on October 22, 2014 in Toronto, Canada  is ongoing.  (I’ll share more details next month.)

It was interesting how much FOMO  I experienced as I unplugged this year.  FOMO?

This is an emerging social phenomenon that Ali Jalali (@ARJalali) diagnosed in me.  We were both speaking at the International Medical Education Leadership Forum in 2013, when he observed me surfing/tweeting while seated on the panel as he spoke.  (Of course, Ali was no better.  I think there’s an instagram post of me cursing my slide deck during my own presentation.)

If you haven’t heard about FOMO, a quick diagnostic test.  Do you sleep with your phone? Are you panicked when your Twitter account goes down? Do you text at red lights? Is your attention span equivalent to a small hamster on methamphetamine? Are you perpetually afraid that if you don’t respond to an email, FB poke, or Twitter chat that you will miss out?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from FOMO.  If you stopped reading the previous paragraph to check your Klout score, you have terminal FOMO.

So, what do you think?  Is this truly a social anxiety disorder?  Is it the end result of technology that allows rapid task switching? Is there a cure? (I purchased an e-course on mindfulness  to combat FOMO, but listened to it at 1.5X normal speed so that I could get through it faster 🙁 )

Share your thoughts on FOMO with the ICENet community below!

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net