Fear of missing out, also known as FOMO, is a type of motivation that is driven by a fear of missing out on current or future opportunities. It is often associated with a fear of missing out on chances for social status, competitive advantage, financial opportunities, rewarding experiences, or valuable information. FOMO is considered a common and powerful form of motivation that can drive a wide range of human behaviors.
FOMO can manifest in different ways, depending on the individual and the situation. For example, someone who is motivated by a fear of missing out on social opportunities may be more likely to attend events or engage with others in order to avoid feeling left out. Similarly, someone who is motivated by a fear of missing out on financial opportunities may be more likely to take risks or invest in order to avoid missing out on potential gains.
In many cases, FOMO can be a powerful driver of behavior, but it can also lead to negative outcomes, such as decision making based on incomplete or inaccurate information, or impulsivity that leads to regret. The following are a few examples.
Fear of missing out can explain investors piling into an investment that has recently gone up in value.
Individuals with a strong fear of missing out may be unusually social. For example, they may rarely stay home. It is also associated with high use of social media.
Fear of missing out may drive individuals to closely follow trends in ideas, technology, fashion and other areas.
Businesses may create artificial shortages at a new product launch in an attempt to trigger a fear of missing out amongst customers.