Imagine you are having dinner with your family. You’ve agreed in advance that you would not use smartphones, but your smartphone continues to shine. Yes, you can turn the internet off, but will your mind be able to communicate peacefully with your family members? How would you rate the stress you are experiencing on a scale of one to seven? If you are anxious when you don’t know what your friends are chatting about, and if you can’t wait to check the red blinking messages, chances are fear of missing out (FOMO) is a part of your everyday life.
We experience FOMO when we think about the experiences and opportunities that others had, but we’ve missed. This feeling also leads to an intensified sense of belonging and the search for spaces where we feel like we are part of a group. In the age of social networking, our anxiety is even stronger and more intense. Having access to information about other people has increased our tendency to compare our lives, our achievements, and our daily lives with theirs. As a result, we feel less satisfied with what we are doing. To feel alive and a part of the digital world, we also strive to involve others in our lives. Consider, for example, the Facebook Story feature, which is all about building a closer and more intimate relationship with a brand or individual. It makes you feel like you know a particular person or a brand better. His/her daily life is accessible, and you somehow become its part by reacting to it. If you aren't interested in this feature, Facebook may send you a notification offering you to check the Story of your close friend or potentially interesting person. Similar offers and many other features can be turned off. However, the constant updates are full of more and more sophisticated and attention-grabbing features. As one Google employee says, "if you don’t pay for the product, then you are the product," and this is what social media is actively trying to sell.
It may be driven by curiosity at first, but we enter an infinite loop of control and pursuit over time. My project aims to explore this unquenchable digital curiosity, which is one of the things driving FOMO. More specifically, I am interested in what impact FOMO has on the mental health of Georgian youth and what feelings they have in common. My research focused on people in their 20s and 30s who actively use various social networks and experience anxiety offline. I think my interest in this topic was driven by working in digital media and studying its impact on a person's behavior. Our Newsfeed is a safe zone filled with interesting people, ads, and ideas. On one hand, it’s very comfortable, and we feel calm. On the other hand, however, when we encounter a different reality, our anxiety grows, and we doubt our ability to adapt to the outside world. As a result, we return to a place where we feel comfortable; where we can control who does what (Newsfeed, Story), more easily belong to the group we like (private groups), and maintain constant communication (messenger).
I chose the GIF format because, like scrolling, it creates the illusion of motion and infinity.
Feeling of insecurity
The problem of identity
The illusion of home
Anxiety about failure
Crisis of values