Digital FOMO is a very real thing

FOMO. The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great.” (Urban dictionary, 2016)

FOMO is something I’m sure has been experienced by everyone. Often it is the case that you perceive to be missing out on something great, but this may not be the reality.

Now imagine the level of FOMO that is experienced from people who lack internet access. Is this fear realistic, or is it simply perceived?

Living in the developing world, often the matter of the digital divide is forgotten. Lack of Internet is a persisting issue, with 60% of the world’s population forecasted to be left offline by the end of 2013 (Kelion, 2013).

The graphic below relates to the Digital Divide, defined as “The Existence of gaps in society between those who use technology and those who don’t” (Ball, 2011, p. 56)


(Image created by me)

This video outlines the reasoning behind the Digital Divide, and how the term has evolved over time

(Video created by me)

So the question poses, do people who lack internet access miss out in reality?

Knight (2012) outlines how differences in access can lead to differing views of inclusion and exclusion – the issue of exclusion being unethical. He further discusses how it can hinder chances of employment and education (ibid.)

With regards to education, even the term FOMO, would people who lack internet access know this term? This shows the realm of knowledge  that those who lack internet access are missing. This relates to Topic 1, which discussed the benefits of social learning.

In Topic 3 I highlighted the prevalence of social recruiting. Further emphasising this, 80% of Fortune companies post job applications online only (Furlong, 2014)- leaving those who lack internet access fewer opportunities for employment. Adults who lack computer skills to further their application and build upon job skills are marginalised within the employment sector (ibid.). 50% of today’s jobs require technology skills, such as basic Microsoft skills (ibid.) – people lacking these miss employment opportunities, and fail to move out of their lower class.

The issue of exclusion is not the most prominent ethical issue, especially when contesting against issues of identity theft, as discussed in Kleinman’s article (2015), or lack of privacy as exemplified by Greenwald’s video (2014). However, its importance is depicted by the repercussions it has on people’s lives. It results in lack of ability to escape social class, social class being the issue that leads them to being losers of the digital divide in the first place.

References (including those used for creation of graphics):



6 thoughts on “Digital FOMO is a very real thing

  1. Hi Claire,

    I thought this was a very well written and interesting post. I especially liked the idea of ‘Digital FOMO’ and after reading, I realised that I experienced this myself whilst travelling last summer and having no access to internet at times. You clearly researched the topic in depth and your infographic was effective in presenting your findings in a clear manor. However I would have been interested in seeing 2016’s statistics – as the digital world moves so quickly.

    I certainly agree that as a result of the digital divide, companies or educators using social media are giving an unfair advantage to those who have access to this technology. I would be interested to know what you believe a possible solution to this issue could be (If any)?

    I look forward to reading your future posts!



  2. Hi claire,

    I really enjoyed this post and was very impressed by the amount of references you used. This shows you went above and beyond the task with your readings as well as the content you created.

    It is a shocking thought that there are parts of the world that are unaware a life without technology. One question I do have however involves the stigma that comes with the “online world”. Do you think that this disconnection to technology could benefit these groups? There are daily reports of how technology is “rotting our brains” and the amount of negativity that stems from factors such as hacking, cyber bullying or identity theft. Is it possible that this disconnection is actually sheltering them or do the benefits, such as education, outweigh this?

    Overall, this post was very informative and well researched. It taught me some new terms and really made me think! I look forward to your next post.


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