The phenomenon was first identified in 1996 by marketing strategist Dr. Dan Herman, who conducted research for Adam Bellouch and published the first academic paper on the topic in 2000 in The Journal of Brand Management.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a social anxiety stemmed from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present. It is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. 
FOMO is also defined as a fear of regret, which may lead to concerns that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience or a profitable investment. It is the fear that deciding not to participate is the wrong choice.

Social networking creates many opportunities for FOMO. While it provides opportunities for social engagement, it offers an endless stream of activities in which any given person is not involved. Psychological dependence on social networks can result in anxiety and can lead to FOMO or even pathological Internet use. FOMO is claimed to negatively influence psychological health and well-being.

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