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joy of missing out: a feeling of pleasure you get from spending time doing what you want and not worrying about what other people are doing or saying
'She encourages viewers to nurture JOMO behaviour by testing out being alone in "acceptable places" like the bathroom, coffee shops and the library. It's not much of a stretch to "stall," as she puts it, and read a paper or people-watch.'Daily Xtra 12th January 2015
As a fully paid-up digital immigrant, I remember a time when spending the day as you fancied and not worrying about what other people were up to was simply known as 'doing your own thing'. In the world of the digital native however, where the real-time thoughts and whereabouts of others are pervasively available, striking out on your own goes so much against the flow that it's attracted a new moniker – this is the pleasurable experience now known as JOMO.
JOMO is about stepping off the social bandwagon and reconnecting with what really makes us happy
JOMO is an acronym standing for the expression joy of missing out, and it simply refers to the gratifying feeling you get when you break away from the (real or virtual) activities of your social group and spend time doing exactly what you most want to do. JOMO is of course achieved in many different ways depending on personalities and the lives we lead, but it typically consists of shunning parties, bars, restaurants or several hours on Facebook in favour of things like a good book, a walk, bathing the kids, or lounging on the sofa with a movie and bowl of popcorn. For many people, true JOMO is only possible when they take a brief digital detox, shutting themselves off from social media and any virtual connection to the world around them so that they're not bombarded with unsettling thoughts about what other people are doing or expecting of them.
JOMO is often described as a backlash against the hyper-connected society we live in, where technology pushes both social and professional activity constantly in our faces, so that it's virtually impossible to be blissfully unaware of what everyone else is doing. This often forces us into spending time in ways which we wouldn't necessarily have chosen. JOMO then, is about stepping off the social bandwagon and reconnecting with what really makes us happy.
The concept of the joy of missing out and related acronym JOMO first appeared in 2012, its early use often credited to blogger Anil Dash who, having to withdraw from both on- and offline activity for a period after the birth of his son, realized that he'd enjoyed himself immensely and didn't feel he'd missed out on anything at all.
JOMO is a play on the earlier acronym FOMO (fear of missing out), which is used to describe the feeling of anxiety that people experience when they discover, often via social media, that they've missed out on a social event or other positive experience.
The existence of expressions like JOMO suggest that, although we're unlikely to resist technology completely, the more deeply we become immersed in it, the more we're beginning to evaluate its hold on us. Other coinages reflecting this zeitgeist include ringxiety, the constant need to check your phone or mistakenly thinking it's ringing, phubbing, the related condition of being impolite in social situations by checking your phone, tablet, etc, tech-life balance, using technology in a way that doesn't have a negative effect on your personal life, and infobesity, relentless addiction to digital information in a way which affects your ability to concentrate.
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This article was first published on 3rd March 2015.