FOMO: it’s officially back

FOMO: it’s officially back

  • Agencies

21st June 2021

In many countries and cities, as vaccination rates grow and many ease back into daily routines outside of their own homes, the pent-up demand for experiences is bringing with it the resurgence of that 'Old Normal' staple: FOMO, or the "fear of missing out".

The idea that restrictions might be heavily scaled back has reawakened a dormant hunger for experience, across travel, nightlife and elsewhere. And all this is accentuated by the fact that steadily greater numbers are getting to enjoy these things. 

It's a surefire recipe for FOMO, and one that New York Magazine enshrined in this cover story.


We thought we'd test this supposition using Pulsar TRENDs, which maps public interest in a term or concept across Twitter. And, sure enough, they were right (which gave us FOMO for not spotting it sooner).


Within the overarching trend, there are clear FOMO subtypes, from straight-up event FOMO:

To the resurgence of social dynamics that were previously placed on hold by social distancing and lockdown measures:

In addition to this, the phrase has also been wholeheartedly picked up by various subcultures. 


A couple of decades ago, seeing FOMO within a finance conversation might have led the reader to assume that a new exchange had achieved prominence (Fijian & Oceanic perhaps). 

Now, however, the proliferation of retail investing, crypto speculation and other instances of non-traditional finance have bred a new informality, which has pronounced overlaps with meme culture.

With the first spate of lockdowns, numerous people discovered a joy in simple, home-bound activities such as bread-making. The current outbreak of FOMO is, perhaps, simply its long-gestating opposite reaction.