This year, I’ve decided to coin a new term. Since FOMO seems to be all the rage these days and often used completely out of context, I began to think. There’s FOMO (fear of missing out), based upon the desperate desire to do everything that everyone else does. There’s JOMO (joy of missing out), based upon feeling happy that you’re not doing what everyone else is doing. However, for me there was still a gap in this mad acronym obsessed world and for my own FOMO, I felt I like had to create my own term as everyone else does, so then I can be happy in the fact that I no longer need to run with the crowd and be JOMO about it.
“What are you talking about?” I hear you shout at the screen! Well I suppose I should get to some sort of point here. My new term, which is not quite an acronym, but it’s close enough for artistic licence sake is MOTMO! Or Missing Out on The Moment! Yes I know it should be MOOTMO, but whatever, I’m not changing it, because it sounds cooler the other way.
MOTMO is basically missing out on all of the real world experiences going on around you. From what I’ve seen and experienced recently, this slaps FOMO in the face for the insane level of stupidity upon which it’s based.
From Sydney, to Auckland, to Himeji (Japan), to NYE back in Australia, I noticed so many people missing out on what was going on around them. Consumed by devices and the desire to ‘snap’ or film something and sending it to someone else instead of living through the experience they’re having, people are increasingly detaching themselves from the moment and appear to prefer a 2 dimensional version of life, rather than the experience of life itself.
A couple of years back, I went to a Village People Concert. (Yes, some of them were still alive). I had a great seat right at the front of the Egyptian Theatre in Park City, Utah and of course had to snap a few shots of the performance, mainly for proof of life that they really were still breathing, although the Indian did stop to take in oxygen from a canister between each song, so partial proof of life really. Anyway, after I had a couple of photos, I put the phone away and watched the concert. However, many people around me, had their phones out the whole time recording everything, but for what end? Are they really going to go home and watch the concert over again and have the same feeling of being there? Or are they going to post it online for a quick ‘look at me’ moment? Or will it sit unwatched on their phone until they drop it and it’s smashed to pieces on the ground?
Whilst the digital world is an increasingly amazing place, it’s still not essentially real. It’s a filtered and distorted version of reality which can capture people’s attention and focus it on a device, but the cost is that people miss out on the real world experiences going on around them. On a completely different level, when I was walking around the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, there were countless people walking around the crowd filming everything as they went. For me, this is just an annoying thing to do, but what it really means is that your attention is divided between the camera and what’s actually happening around you and with technology as such a constant distraction, the moment is being completely lost. With the busy nature of life today, are you going to go back and watch the video of the shrines and get more out of it? Or are you going to quickly forget about your video footage, because there’s so much film you don’t have time to do anything with it. Classic MOTMO in action! Rather than walking around the shrines, exploring, seeing, feeling and living in the moment which could have a profoundly enlightening effect on someone, it’s now been an exercise in watching through a crowd with a camera to capture a moment that really never happened.
Experiencing unique destinations, cultures and activities is what makes travel, relationships and being human what it is. Even though many people might think that getting lots of likes for their fake version of a moment is the experience itself, that’s a sad reflection on how technology has shaped people’s behaviours in recent years. On New Years Eve, once again I was watching the fireworks and so many people stood there filming it, which makes no sense, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t replicate the sights, the thunderous booms and the emotive experience of actually being there and living in that moment and it’s those moments which are fun and memorable which can never be replicated nor replaced by a snap or a video.
One of the most amazing places I’ve been is the V&A museum in London and no matter how many times I’ve been there, I’ve experienced something new and so many things a photo can never come close to replicating. Next door in the Natural History Museum is the Aurora Collection of diamonds which is just stunning, but I have to keep going back, because it’s so beautiful to see and experience. However, time and time again I see more and more people around me being ‘zombiefied’ by their devices and completely missing out on the moments that are constantly going on around them.
So for all the MOFOs who have FOMO and need to video everything, you’re destined to continue to MOTMO some of the most amazing experiences in life. When you go somewhere, it’s not about the photos you take. It’s what you experience there in each and every moment that’s the most important thing. Keeping this in mind, for your next adventure somewhere, take a few photos as triggers for the memories of where you went, but most importantly, live in the moment whilst you’re there.
MOTMO definition in the Urban Dictionary