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FOMO — and working for the federal government

Do you have it?

I certainly do. It’s not always easy to admit, but I am ready to do it now.

I have succumbed to the latest Internet-induced disorder.

It’s called FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – and increasingly people are stepping up and admitting that it’s affecting their social lives.

Now, though, it’s also creeping into the workplace.

Ok, first things first.

FOMO is basically the incredible urge to be everywhere at once. Debates abound online about whether increased involvement on social media has amps up these feelings in people, but suffice to say the worry and fear about being left out has existed since the dawn of time.

There are a lot of things one can do to get rid of FOMO, including turning off those pesky smartphones and iPads every once in awhile, but what about when one is at work?

As a new media specalist working for a federal agency, I am expected to stay on top of the latest social media trends.

In my office, we have been using Facebook and Twitter for long enough now that their purpose is easy to explain.

But now we are also approved to use platforms like Tumblr, Instagram and FourSquare.

And this is great! But it’s also kind of a problem …

One of the problems I’m currently facing is wondering if I’m suffering from FOMO. As a (relatively) young and new employee, I immediately balk when someone says, “We can’t use that! I don’t understand it!” I am also discovering, though, that implementing a new platform across an entire agency is not as easy as, “Here! You can now use this! Go!”

Perhaps it is just shell shock. I have been using all of the aforementioned platforms for years and have been doing so without much afterthought.

On Facebook, I keep in touch with my friends. On Twitter I develop work relationships and discuss topics I find relevant to my career. On Tumblr I post pictures and ideas that I think reflect upon me as a person.

I am currently working on relating these ideas to my work environment, but it has not been as easy as I anticipated. I worry sometimes that I am pushing too hard, too fast. I want my agency to be the best it can be – and to me, that means being everywhere online.

But am I projecting my FOMO onto my workspace?

I think only time will tell.

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Hannah Ornell

More and more I’m noticing private, public and non-profit companies expand their online presence to the different media platforms you mentioned. I think it’s smart of you to utilize these media, I wouldn’t worry that it’s your FOMO!

Andrew Krzmarzick

Great post, Dorothy. I just did 2-3 workshops on digital communications strategy for NGOs a couple weeks ago and I definitely told them that they shouldn’t worry about being everywhere. I told them to find out where there audience is…and be there. Everything else will just distract from the core goals and weaken the funnel that moves people toward the real actions and information we want them to take away when they engage with us.

Nicaila Matthews

Great post, Dorothy. And I echo what Andrew said. It’s not about spreading yourself thin and trying to be on every platform at once. Devote time to the platforms that make sense for your organization. Quality, not quantity.

David Dejewski

Yup. I’m thinking this condition is more common among the younger crowd. I have had to filter and prioritize a lot. I’m brutal with email and other direct contacts. No fear of missing out. Maybe a fear of being dragged into too much.

Automation is great for handling the multiple channels: Facebook, Twitter, etc. I was in heaven when I found a service that would allow me to post a Blog post one time and have it automatically distribute to social media channels. When I visit a channel like Twitter, I tend to hang out in mentions or direct messages and avoid the main stream traffic.

Less is more sometimes. 🙂

Carol Davison

Like David and Andy, I also manage the ways and people that communicate with me. So do you if you are wise. You don’t pick up when a stranger calls. You do when its your boss/sweetie. You never call some people back. I interrupt marketers to say politely but firmly “Never call me back.” The idea that young people take photos of shoes and ask their friends if they should buy them makes my brain want to explode. How do they get anything done? Email, yes I control it. Facebook yes I control it. Twitter-CEOs don’t see the return on investment of using it. Not only do I not see the value of it I think of it as 140 characters of electronic spam and am not buying it yet. What is blazes does government do that is adequatley communicated with 140 characters? Close down for the weather? I am willing to be educated on its return on investment but haven’t seen it yet.

Dorothy Ramienski Amatucci

Thanks for the comments! Right now I am focusing on two platforms … and we are having discussions about expanding and automating. Also, Danielle, I laughed when I clicked on that link!