Paul Little: We're all fomo-sapiens

I blinked and missed the start of the next new great social craze. Photo / File
I blinked and missed the start of the next new great social craze. Photo / File

I was sick to death of it before I'd heard of it. I came into the Pokemon Go cycle about the time the horror stories started appearing. It was a lot longer before I found out what it actually was.

PG is, roughly, a game in which you use your smartphone and its GPS to find and "capture" Pokemon - irritating cartoon characters, to you older readers - in real-life locations and thereby earn points.

Naturally there's lot more but that's the nub. It's a scavenger hunt on your phone for something that doesn't exist.

It almost certainly uses more computing power than all six manned moon landings combined and appears to have enthralled as many people.

But not me. I blinked and missed the start of the next new great social craze.

It was The Bachelor all over again. I had no idea Naz and Jordan were people rather than places, when other people had already taken them into their lives and formed strong emotional bonds with them.

By the time I realised, it was too late to start getting to know them. That was me in the corner at the party, talking to the plant.

It reminded me how there was a time when everyone knew what Fomo (Fear of Missing Out) meant except me. I hated that.

Which is why I will be front and centre on August 1 when The Real Housewives of Auckland debuts.

I have no fear we will see any of them acting like real housewives, trying to meet the demands of children with different dietary fads, remembering to fill up the car before picking the kids up and trying to take an interest in their husbands' less than riveting work stories.

Be assured you are in for a parade of amped-up hysteria queens making Joan Crawford look like she's on Mogadon - which is what their producers will have goaded them into being.

Not my cup of tea at all. But I'm going to be watching RHA because I want to be in on the sort of fun I missed out on when they snuck Pokemon Go into the world without warning me.

In just a couple of days the first stories about its addictive dangers and general weirdness started to appear: players were exposing all their data to easy hacking; a man missed his baby's birth because he was capturing a Pokemon; armed robbers used PG to lure victims into an ambush; a company offered a PG driving service to take players to locations so they didn't have to walk; the whole thing was a Government surveillance psyop conspiracy; people playing while driving were causing car crashes.

The taste limit was breached when the US Holocaust Museum had to ask people to stop chasing Pokemon there.

We know these stories accompany any new craze and have known since the advent of comic books heralded the end of civilisation. But social media means fears are transmitted faster and have more impact.

But what Pokemon Go, Real Housewives and any other craze have in common is they're trivial. If they didn't exist, no one would miss them. So if you have a life, you'll never really have Fomo because you'll be otherwise occupied. But maybe you'll have less fun than you could.

We should probably prioritise fun more than we do. Cartoonist Adam Ellis put it best, commenting on the anti-PG hysteria: "Let people enjoy things."

- Herald on Sunday

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