Remember when the smartphones came? It wasn’t long ago, yet it feels like forever. I’ve personally owned more than 10 fulltime smart devices over the past decade, so it feels like I’ve had a smartphone my entire life. Every other month something new comes out, with better specs, better software, surprising new capabilities, wonderful novel materials, sometimes even advances in battery technology (or at least battery life)…
We are drawn to new devices, lest we miss out on all the rage. More RAM and multicore CPUs mean better performance of the software (hence – less waiting for things to load). Better cameras turn us into better photographers. Apps allow us to share and connect at all times. (Seriously, have you noticed how every other tech startup has something to do with sharing?)
We don’t need them. Usually. We desire them. We live in FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. On all the fun, all the vogue, the newness and hipness of that new smartphone.
The once all-in-one smart devices are now branching out, shedding functionalities onto various spinoffs, better suited for their nominal purposes. It’s definitely easier to receive notifications on a small gadget, generally worn on your face and before your eyes. And it’s simpler to detect one’s heartbeat via a wrist-worn device with the respective sensors, discreetly blended into its wristband.
We are used to living in FOMO; we anticipate and crave updates and upgrades – even if none are needed – to hardware and software, to device configurations and designs. And we are now entering an age where a larger paradigm shift will have us waiting just as impatiently – if not more so – for the next wearable module (or device) that works with (or instead of) our smartphone. Because an AiO smartphone is already outdated – soon to be obsolete – and could not possibly perform all those many functions that the fabled IoT – or even IoE – seems to necessitate.
This Smithian division of device functionality has been naturally born out of the evolution of focused, objective-specific mobile apps. Such as when geolocation apps went jogging. Or when social networks branched out into niche social apps – most notably social (or social-based) dating apps.
Zoosk, Badoo, OkCupid, POF, Grouper, Tinder, Grindr, 3nder, Blendr…
Interestingly, with the help of these easy-to-use and, generally, fun-to-use mobile apps (and their web-based ancestors), FOMO seems to have transcended above plain technological desires and has entered the delicate realm of intimate relationships.
Again, we have learned to anticipate and crave updates and upgrades, but, now, what we have to leave behind are the outdated – maybe soon to be obsolete – relationships and people, whose novelty seems to have worn out all too quickly. We have let ourselves become fickle and capricious. Newness and its challenges have become so ingrained into our lives that we seem to have lost the ability to sink deep into a relationship and let it engulf us, like a huge bed full of down pillows…
Just sinking in and letting the pillows take and preserve our warmth, relaxing, feeling supported, enveloped in familiarity and comfort…
We are all too eager to give it all up when presented with the potential to find someone new, different – maybe even better! Yes! Better! What if there is someone better for me out there, whom I am going to let slip by, just because I have settled for comfort? Just because I have decided that being with someone means compromise for both of us? What if I miss out on all of that potential out there?
This is the other FOMOsexuality*.
Well, then, if our intimate relationships so follow the pattern of mobile devices and applications, I cannot help but wonder:
Would we be able to consciously – and happily – create the perfect modular, intimate relationship? You know – one person for perfect sex, another for marvelous companionship, a third person to passionately love, a fourth to be unconditionally loved by…
No more missing out!
– – – –
*For reference, FOMOsexuality is usually defined as staying with the obviously wrong person, for fear of not being able to find someone better.