From FOMO to FOJI to JOMO to TEHO

FOMO –> FOJI –> JOMO…may sound like Greek or Latin – like
Julius Caesar’s Latin phrase “Veni Vidi Vici” which means “I came, I saw, I conquered”.

But FOMO, FOJI, JOMO are part of the new lingo in the world of Social Media and internet.

I am a bit old school, so I am really turned off by the SMS-language such as 2moro (Tomorow), 2nte (Tonight), GR8 (Great), W8 (Wait), QT (Cutie) etc. I don’t mind abbreviations such as IMO (In My Opinion), IDK (I Don’t Know), BTW (By The Way) which are real acronyms and not twisting and tearing of the words.

In fact I was intrigued by TLAs and had written an elaborate blog on it. Check it here. So I like interesting short-forms and abbreviations which summarize a concept. And that’s why FOMO caught my attention first.

In fact, let me talk about how I went through the journey of FOMO, FOJI and JOMO…

I have been one of the early adopters of internet, and various Social Media platforms. I have been blogging since 2004, joined FaceBook in 2007 when it was barely known in India, joined Twitter in 2009, have active profiles on Linkedin, Pinterest, Quora, few music streaming/podcast sites and apps, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram etc. Slowly the ones that suited my interests and personality continued to be active and others faded away. For example, I have deactivated FaceBook since last few years (not completely deleted yet) because I thought it had become too shabby and filthy and chaotic. I also get extremely irritated by the in-your-face selfies and insatiable urge to show off the life, minute-by-minute,
to the world.

I wonder why people often latch on to the Social Media (I am guilty of that too) every now and then. What is this tendency? And then I read about FOMO.

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out! People don’t want to miss out on anything. If someone is having good time on FaceBook and if they are unaware of it, they feel sad. Then they also want to post photos of their recent party in WhatsApp status, and announce to the world that they are enjoying as much! You want to be part of school whatsapp group, college WA group, family, colleagues, relatives etc. because you fear being left out.

Is FOMO bad? Not really. I have a fear of missing out on some of the best books I should read before I die. How will I know if I have missed out on such a book? Well, I constantly explore book recommendations, follow people who are well-read etc. Is that bad? Not really. So FOMO is not bad. FOMO about non-essential, trivial or harmful things is bad. I feel some of the social media would fall into this category for some people.

Moving on…

Just as I was an early adopter of internet and social media, I also got tired early. Once the enthusiasm of being an early adopter and novelty of the platform faded, there was nothing much to discover. In fact it became annoying. That’s when I developed a new behavior. I would be reluctant to join a new platform or experiment and would stick with the old ones. For example, I was part of a WhatsApp group started by a classmate. We had vigorous arguments about Politics and many other controversial things. Without intending to, things became personal and then I left the group. There were a couple of saner people who contacted me personally and said that they would add me back. But I was reluctant. I no longer wanted to be part of such toxic environment. It was exactly opposite of FOMO.

Soon I discovered that there is an acronym for it. It’s called FOJI – Fear Of Joining In.

As mentioned before, I have deactivated Facebook profile, not deleted it. Occasionally I am tempted to activate profile again, but immediately I am put off by just thinking about all the nonsense and toxic things that go on there. FOJI takes over and stops me from activating my FB profile.

Soon I started thinking about what could be the next state of being – after FOJI. Meanwhile I met few people who I had imagined as ideal state of being, and now experienced them in reality! One of them is the my blog reader who is so kind and large-hearted that he “likes” everything that I post! Another person is my CFA teacher. One is a Vedantin, the other (I guess) is more inclined towards Buddhism. The fact that they are intellectuals and high-achievers is secondary. The thing that impressed me was the way they have detached themselves from almost everything. They have conquered fear (as in FOMO and FIJO) and more importantly, the anger – something which I can only dream of!

I initially thought that opposite of FOMO would be FIJO…but that’s not entirely true. It’s correct that opposite of “Missing Out” is “Joining In”…but then I was focusing on the wrong phrase to understand the opposite.

The keyword for knowing the opposite in true sense is the word Fear. It is the fear which you want to conquer! A cure for Social Media addition is not to become anti-social; but to become free from the urge to be addicted of Social Media.

My CFA teacher is a semi-retired person. He conducts CFA tuition on weekends, because he enjoys teaching. He often goes out of town during weekdays, to some remote place, resort or Ashram – and meditates. He spends time with the people that give him positive energy, engages in activities that he enjoys doing! And I guess he is just 45 years old or so…

He joins WhatsApp group of his CFA students for doubt clearing, during the exam days. And then goes without phone or any device, when he is in meditation spell. He uses mobile or such gadgets as tools…he is not a slave of these possessions!

I felt that’s the status I would like to be in…some day. And how do you describe it? What do you call Opposite of FOMO? Well, I found a word for it.

It’s called JOMO – Joy Of Missing Out!

What a precise word! The “joy” of missing out…

One of my friends who is a Doctor didn’t carry a smart phone until recently. He still used the old feature phone. He used to say jokingly:

” हम आज भी उन लोगों मे है जो सर उठाके चलते है, सर झुकाके नहीं”

(I am one of those who still hold their heads high while walking! A crack at the people obsessed with smart phones, who walk while looking at their phones)

That is the JOY – of missing out willingly…

There is another friend who doesn’t watch TV News and all the breaking stories that are bombarded 24×7. He still prefers it the old ways. He reads newspaper the next day. And he says that the amount of news that you get in newspaper, and the timing of it (the next day) is sufficient for him. He has found joy of missing out on 24×7 news!

I liked the concept! JOMO! I do miss out, willingly, on certain unproductive things, so that I can catch up with the backlog of things I enjoy! I still have a very very long way to go…

I know that this approach is totally alien to many – maybe most of the people. They don’t understand why it is wrong to succumb to such temptations and just try it all, enjoy it all in life…and guess what: they also have a word for justifying it!

They call it: YOLO – You Only Live Once!

Well, it’s a matter of perspective.

FOMO, FOJI, JOMO, YOLO…to each his own!

Can we call it TEHO? 😀

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