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Waiting For JOMO

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I was chatting withNo Devices a friend the other day who expressed a yearning for JOMO, the joy of missing out.  By degrees he is peeling himself off social media and looking forward to some committed conversations with his pals, ones where they make eye contact and respond in that age old art of conversation.  Without the punctuation of Facebook check in, an Instagram of the food they are about to eat, a tweet of their oh-so-funny banter or just checking messages.

Will JOMO ever become a reality?  Will it be a trend to rival FOMO, fear of missing out? Sadly, I told him I don’t think so. And this is where our conversation got really interesting.  Now joined by a few others, we shared stories about how our fitness apps were encouraging us to run further, social and messaging apps were great for keeping in touch and how we’d gotten some great design inspiration from other places on the web.

So would this small group of friends head to the land of JOMO?  Mmmh, probably not was the answer.  While they got my friend’s sense of over sharing, over knowing and over intruding, they liked being kept up to date and just generally found digital social life to be an important part of socialising.

JOMO doesn’t need to be an all-out blanket ban on social and digital connectivity.  Social connectedness is a modern habit, which crept into our daily routines and we need to put it back in order.  Reducing the amount of time we spend mindlessly scrolling through social platforms and increasing the time we spend simply being present can be enough.

The French Government has certainly encouraged its citizens to disconnect by banning office contact after 6pm.  Many celebrities are also embracing the trend, encouraging fans to enjoy the gig on the stage rather than through the tiny screen of their smart phone.  What if we took the small step of simply banning devices during a meal?

The health benefits of reducing connectivity and increasing mindfulness are well documented.    Here are just three good reasons to disconnect regularly:

  1. According to Forbes ( disconnecting in the evening is really important for our health. Continuing to stay in touch with work in the evening not only adds to stress, it eats into that much needed recovery time.
  2. There is of course a sense of satisfaction when your shared pictures are liked, but it can feel addictive and this is when it becomes unhealthy.  The rise in social anxiety and depression have been correlated with increased connectivity.
  3. Remember that clever IKEA ad explaining why the light from a lamp was better for inducing sleep than the light given off by a tablet or smart phone? Being online as your head hits the pillow can disrupt your sleep so, may be get back to reading a book or magazine before bed.


Rather than waiting for JOMO, I think we need to first develop a habit of disconnecting.  Make simple rules like looking out the window on one of your commutes to work (on public transport, never use devices while driving!), no devices at the dinner table or one the guys here in the office practice ‘the first to pick up their devise, picks up the tab’, we’re not shy to pay our way, but we don’t want to get stuck buying the round when it’s not our turn!

What ideas have you got to reduce your connectivity?  Share them with us, we’d love to hear all about them.

29 February, 2016 by Tara Grehan

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