Thursday, February 22, 2024

Wired magazine tags ‘Internet News Addiction’ as new FOMO

In his new piece at Wired magazine, “The New Fomo,” writer Nick Stockton pointed out that people these days have become more concerned about being plugged into the 24/7 Internet news cycle.

In the past, people developed a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) over the things that were happening with their family and friends. A study published in the July 2013 edition of Computers in Human Behavior defines FOMO as “the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out ? that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you.”

Screengrab from Wired

Stockton, of course, was also writing for the US audience, but he might as well have been writing about Filipinos, too. This particular passage stood out for us: “Since the election, every iota of news has somehow come to seem more urgent, with each newsbreak, tweet, press conference, and cable news countdown clock hurtling toward ? impeachment? War? The end of net neutrality? Climate chaos? And while information overload is nothing new, the stakes of all this new information feel exponentially higher ? feel being the operative word here ? and processing it has therefore become that much more burdensome.”

These days, it seems that people have an opinion on everything ? even when they don’t exactly know what is happening. This is most evident on social media platforms, which easily double as battlegrounds for many digital battles that range from arguments over typos to foreign policy. (via Pexels)

The Wired piece cites Shyam Sundar, a communications researcher at Pennsylvania State University, who presents a suggestion to people who can’t seem to quit checking the news. Sundar advises news junkies to have “a more sustained, interactive approach to social media.” He says, “Finish reading every post before moving on to the next one, but not before commenting, tweeting, or posting your thoughts about it.”

Sundar is simply saying that you should consume news in a more mindful way. If you do this, then you would most likely realize that it take a whole lot of effort to be fully engaged in an issue. Hopefully, you would then think twice about firing off you opinions indiscriminately.

We’re not use that Sundar’s solution would work on people who are tasked to monitor the news or people who seem to have way too much time on their hands. But acknowledging the presence of an Internet News Addiction should count for something.


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