Brenda’s Blog – February 14, 2017
“FOMO is the essential element of our lives.”
Listening to a podcast about millennials and money, one of the panelists brought up the importance of experience in their lives. FOMO is a cardinal rule. The Fear of Missing Out absolutely drives so many of our 20-34 year olds. They long to be social – music, active lifestyles, interaction – these are part of their DNA. A generational specialist once told me, “They don’t listen to music – music is their world… it is the water in which they swim.” Socialization is the same.
Toffler, author of Future Shock, predicted people would be willing to allocate more money for experiences in work, consumption, and all other areas of life. Pine and Gilmore developed this idea in their work, “The Experience Economy.” They pointed out the service economy ended and now people wanted more than transaction – they want action and interaction. They use Starbucks, Nordstroms, and the Ritz Carlton Hotels as prime examples of making the experience the product. The true tangible product is really just a by-product.
Last week I had a conversation with Ronnie Cunningham who is an authority on today’s youth. He bemoaned the loss of logical thinking when totally exchanged for experience. Ravi Zacharias, the international theologian, uses as his tag line “Let my people think!” It is easy to control a group which focuses singularly on emotion and experience. Thinking is a protection against tyranny.
FOMO is intriguing! It is also addictive and manipulative. The anxiety created by always wanting to be in the middle of “what’s happening” puts a person in bondage. It is also a great creator of temptation. “I’m at the newest restaurant, buying the newest device, meeting the latest and greatest…” Tweets, Snapchats, and Instagrams like these create discontent. Back in the day we didn’t have FOMO, but we had “Be there or be square.” The threat of being left out wasn’t created by the millennials. Eve, in the garden, was tempted by the taunt, “Oh, God just doesn’t want to be have good things and be in the know.”
As a Mom, Gram, and great Gram I think much about the values of my family. How can I translate the experience economy and FOMO into a thirst for things which last – experiences which have eternal meaning? How can I fan the flames of not wanting to miss out on what God has to offer?
May those of us in the 4th quarter encourage younger ones to be bold and courageous – and strong in the things which have eternal value.