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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Fear Of Missing Out

To my own regret, I also suffer from the Fear Of Missing Out a.k.a. FOMO. Each morning when I wake up, the 1st thing I do is open my iPhone and see if there are any personal emails (seldom), text messages (seldom), instant (FB or WA) messages (yes), or interesting FB posts (sometimes) that I can use for this blog. Latter is my excuse for my FOMO. What is yours??

I'm writing this blog on my iPad, outside in the garden while enjoying the hide and seek game between the sun and the (in)famous Dutch clouds. My iPhone is always with me and I fill every idle moment by using it. My iPad is always within reach - at least at home. Nevertheless, I still prefer working on my iMac inside, when it's too cold or raining outside. Technology and FOMO are almost identical twins, from an individual point of view.

I never had this Fear Of Missing Out when I still had my basic Nokia 5110, 3310, or 6310 phones. You easily got bored when playing Pac-man or Snake, and much more quickly than now playing 2048, Solitaire or Sudoku. Obviously, the current Graphic User Interfaces (GUI) excel the previous complicated menu structures and the dull greenish colours. Obviously, connectivity (eg, friends, Internet) also plays a vital role.

Most of all, the Fear Of Missing Out is triggered by the notification sounds of the various apps in our smartphones. Nowadays, I am actively blocking these sounds as it’s really hard to ignore them after hearing them. A badge app icon (or message counter) is often more than enough as most notifications hardly qualify as urgent anyway. Still they feel as potentially urgent.

Therefore, a cold turkey approach for your FOMO or your social media addiction, probably works best. Go to “Settings”, then “Notifications”. Change the option Alerts into Banners. Disable “Show in Notification Centre”. Disable “Show in Lock Screen”. And most of all: Disable “Sounds”. Do not change “Allow Notifications” or “Badge App Icon”. Not seeing these Alerts and not hearing these notification sounds, usually solves the addiction or FOMO problem quite quickly.

It's still too hard for me to disable notification sounds for instant messages. Still they often annoy me as they “demand” my immediate attention. People can also usually see whether you have read their messages and they then “expect” an immediate response. In order not to be disturbed, I switch off the Volume button (eg, at the hospital or hospice), or go to Airplane mode (at night).

Allegedly, Johan Cruijff never even used a mobile phone. He just had a fax machine at home in his basement in case people had questions. He was of the opinion that urgent telephone calls would always find a way to him, either through his friends or family. Parents of Silicon Valley employees even send their kids to schools without computers: "tablets out, imagination in" (eg, Daily MailGuardian, Next SharkNYT). They very well know the distraction and disruption these gadgets cause as they earned millions - or billions - on that business model.

Some decades ago, connectivity was a luxury to many. Today it's still a luxury for a “few” (eg, Google Loon in Sri Lanka, or Facebook's Internet.org). Today's luxury is being offline whenever you please. While the Chiefs enjoy their silence, the indians are 24/7 connected and available. France even considers labour regulations regarding work related email outside business hours (eg, BuzzFeed, EconomistIBT). In a globalised world with clients, shareholders and suppliers all in different timezones, such regulation is clearly not a smart way forward.

thenewno2 - The Fear of Missing Out (2012 album trailer) - artists, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


PS: Dhani Harrison is the son of Beatle George Harrison. Hence, his voice.

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