#SayNoToFOMO

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Feeling left out because you missed out on Star Wars’ opening night? Find yourself down in the dumps because only half the people showed up that responded “yes” to your party? Wondering what you should do on February 7 to make this a Super Bowl to remember? You might be suffering from FOMO.

“Fear of Missing Out”—FOMO—is a very real thing. Eventbrite, the world’s largest self-service ticketing platform, found that 7 in 10 millenial Americans (aged 18-34) admitted experiencing FOMO. This cultural phenomenon is now sweeping the nation due to a generational switch of life values. We of the burgeoning ages now put more emphasis on experiences and opportunities than careers and possessions. We are more likely to travel and attend social events than focus on moving up the job ladder or putting a downpayment on a house. Our idea of what gives life meaning, happiness and memories is changing. And with it, FOMO is evolving.

I’m a living, breathing example of someone who suffers from FOMO. I’ve been dedicating my life to minimalism, shying away from materialism. I travel the crap out of the world because culture and nature make me happier than a 9 to 5. Heck, I took a radical sabbatical last year to focus on myself.

The explosion of social media in today’s world has only added to the FOMO outbreak. You don’t want to be that person who missed out on the most rad concert of the century. You don’t want to find yourself Selfie-less, unable to prove to the world that you DID GO TO THE BEER FESTIVAL EVEN THOUGH YOU DON’T DRINK BEER. There are nearly 100 leading networks for social media across the globe, including the well-known Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the popular but lesser known Kiwibox and Baidu Tieba. (What in God’s name is a Baidu Tieba?) There’s even one called Delicious. I have mixed feelings about that one.

I am often so disconnected with pop culture that I find myself getting laughed at. I cringe to admit I once… recently… like yesterday… commented to my sister, “My new favorite song is Skinny Love by Birdy. Have you heard of it?” To which she replied, “You mean from a year ago? And you know that’s a cover song?” Sometimes I know a famous person is a singer but I can’t name a song sung by them, even if it’s in my humming-while-cooking repertoire. And other times, I just don’t know who they are all together. Up until ten years ago, I confused John Lennon with John Glenn one too many times. (Maybe that’s why people don’t come to my parties. They fear I’ll be blasting songs from a Senator through the speakers.) (John Lennon was the astronaut, right?) (I kid.) (Or do I?)

But I think even more than this generation’s need to impress and brag is a need to live and experience. There is a deep-running channel of FOMO through all our hearts. We don’t want to miss out on life. We’re young. Let’s make the moments count.

So how do you keep up with the goings-on, happenings, and to-dos of today and tomorrow? How do you make sure you don’t miss out on the next Star Wars extravaganza (I’m thinking 2018?)? How do you create an event so damn irresistible ain’t nobody gonna say no? Allow me to offer some suggestions, friends.

  1. Use and abuse social media. People seem to be falling away from the Event Calendar page on Facebook. But even though they might not respond yay or nay or even maybay, they’re bound to read what it’s all about. So make it count. For example, my friend recently created a farewell party for me but also employed the words “Christmas celebration” (read: ugly sweaters), yanking on the mistle-toed heart strings of any yule-tide carolers out there who thought the month of December must only be celebratory of all things Christmas. (I am guilty of that.) And, to stir the pot of interest, I posted a shout out on my status saying anyone who is anyone will be there. It kind of worked.
  2. Sign up for e-mail notifications. Beware the Spam! No one likes Spam mail, so pick and choose what really interests you. I’m signed up for daily notices about writing opportunities through freelancewriting.com that I would have missed otherwise, and that’s actually how I got my first contracted writing gig. See? Proof it works. I sign up for newsletters from animal shelters to stay hip with the zoology world, and I get e-mail alerts about upcoming shows from theatres I’m interested in. I also subscribe to certain travel blogs so I get a message in my inbox when a new post is up and I can read it at will, planning my next adventure accordingly. Which conveniently leads me to a shameless self-plug: you should all subscribe to my blog. You know, FOMO prevention.
  3. Use online event planner platforms. Brown Paper Tickets is big in Seattle but is a world-wide ticket selling company (and it’s fair trade and treats its employees well). Or, try Eventbrite for creating an event. Okay, so I’ve not used either but I have researched them and read success stories from people who have used them; they’re legit. They get the job done, helping to make your fundraiser/art show/baby shower/wedding/birthday party/Saturday Cards Against Humanity night one to remember.
  4. Old-fashioned fliers. We do live in a paper-less world and I’m all about going green, but I’ve gotten more hits on selling my car through my advertisement on the cork board at the grocery store than Craigslist. Fliers combined with campus e-mails was how my college improv troupe got word out about our shows. (The fliers also had attention-grabbing images like wide-eyed babies and dogs with spaghetti on their heads. Relevant…) Maybe print the fliers on recycled paper? And then recycle them after?
  5. Good ole word of mouth. If you’re a talker, or you know a talker, you can spread info about your event by talking people’s ears off. Although this could backfire if you talk too much and you get a “yes” RSVP simply to shut you up. So talk with appropriate moderation; know when to shut it.

Good luck with your FOMO prevention and Godspeed.

Please note: This post is part of Eventbrite’s FOMO challenge. Anyone can share their FOMO experiences and prevention tactics. I was not paid to write this post. I did my proper research. My opinion has not been swayed.

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