Most of the online content that is marketed today is created according to a simple formula – entertainment + attention. Online content that we consume in our free time usually entertains and relaxes us, but it inevitably takes up precious time. Most often, we consume entertaining video content that will draw us into an endless tunnel of scrolling so that we can “briefly” forget about problems, responsibilities, everything that we don’t want to deal with at that moment. How many video recipes for dishes you will never make do you watch every day? How many productivity tips did you save this week and you’ll never come back to?
Objectively, only a small amount of the information we consume online every day really adds value to our daily lives. Although we are all aware of it today, social media and the online world in which we inevitably exist like in a parallel universe, function on some higher levels, and manipulation of the human brain and attention cannot be so easily mastered and tamed.
Before we face these 2 terms and how they interfere in our lives on an unconscious level, it is important to understand why we so easily give in to excessive consumption of online content.
Imagine a simple situation. You are traveling to a destination and have just landed from a long flight. At that moment, you turn on your cell phone, start getting many notifications, an update of what happened on the networks while you were offline inevitably follows, and endless scrolling begins. New information arrives, one after the other, you consume it, what we would colloquially say with half a brain, until the moment you realize that it has nothing to do with information, but is bordering obsessive-compulsive behavior, where you repeatedly scroll and refresh the feeds of social networks, in order to get an extra fix of actually irrelevant information.
Social media algorithms are designed very thoughtfully with a simple system that will keep your attention. Everything works on a system of occasional and sudden rewards; you never know when you will hit the jackpot. How is it applied? We scroll and scroll, one, two, three irrelevant information and then boom, something that will surprise us, interest us, intrigue us. And we are hooked on scrolling further in order to stumble upon the next “reward”.
Behind this mechanism is a simple “chemistry” in our organism – dopamine is responsible for everything, which puts us in a state of constant anticipation. While we are searching for new information, the dopamine level is very high, and every novelty, anticipation, excitement equals a new dose of dopamine.
All of this is at the root of the syndrome of the modern age – that we must constantly be connected, that we must experience, achieve and show as much as possible.
When the world became aware of it, the term FOMO or Fear of Missing Out was born. The term Fear of Missing Out with the accompanying acronym FOMO was mentioned for the first time in the context of shopping habits back in 2000. Dr. Dan Herman, an expert in the field of consumer behavior, explains this term as “the outcome of the cognitive process of assessing our abilities to take advantage of all the opportunities that we are presented with and the emotions that accompany that process, taking into account our familiarity with all attractive opportunities, the expression of the sense of importance, influence and the ability to use them (“I should be able to take advantage of all the opportunities I want.”) and perceptions of the extent to which others, with whom we compare, are also able to take advantage of all their opportunities.”
The need to show, try, experience, etc. as much as possible. combined with the desire to compare and compete with others, isn’t that just how social media works?!
In simple terms, FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out on information, events, etc. keeps our focus on online content.
Today, when we are aware of all this and when we know the mechanisms behind the creation of online content, we come up with a new concept that is a symbol of our awareness that we still have freedom of choice when it comes to the consumption of online content.
JOMO, or Joy of Missing Out, is a new acronym that emphasizes the need to miss out on information or events, whether online or in the real world, without feeling guilty. Of course, this does not mean that we simply decided to live without the internet and social media. Instead, we found a balance and are intentionally choosing what kind of content we want to consume.
Where does that put us, digital content creators, in the constant battle of whether FOMO or JOMO will prevail?
In a not very desirable position. Creating content has never been technically easier, yet never more challenging. We don’t want to give in to instant solutions and mass-production of content. We can create content that will really bring added value to users and be worth the attention that we have determined is priceless.
If you are not sure how to create such content, contact us.