Is FOGO the New FOMO?

by Hollee Actman Becker
Originally Published: 

Not that I’ve ever done that or anything.

According to writer Alexis Swerdloff, FOMO has been a thing since around 2011, when a piece in The New York Times described the phenomenon as “the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Instagram.”

“Back then, FOMO was real and FOMO was relentless,” writes Swerdloff. She goes on to posit that the reason FOGO is now trending is “not just because people are actively shutting out the stream of the social web—it’s also that, now that the social web has gotten really good at its function of highlighting what everyone is doing, it is actually making us feel too present.”

In other words, it’s all happening…and happening…and happening. And so nothing really seems exclusive anymore. Because when 50 different people are posting 50 similar shots from events like Coachella or SXSW or the latest Billy Joel concert, everything starts to feel basic. Which suddenly makes staying home seem way more appealing than going out.

“I feel like I’m bombarded with identical palm-tree selfies and 875 photos of that darn [Coachella] caterpillar that both seem posted only to signify ‘I’m here, and this shot of Este Haim’s armpit means I’m in the VIP area’ and manage to also feel like meaningless, cliché stock images,” Swerdloff explained. “By comparison, nothing is more exclusive than a quiet night in with Carr’s Table Water Crackers.”

Personally, I prefer Cool Ranch Doritos with my Netflix. And don’t worry. I didn’t know who Este Haim was either. Which kind of makes me wonder if FOGO could also be chalked up to something else: Factor of Getting Old, maybe?

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