John McIntyre

Keeping up is overrated

Vogue abbreviations in textspeak don't usually intrigue me, but a few days ago Word Spy wrote about one that caught my eye: JOMO.

JOMO stands for "Joy of Missing Out," defined thus: "The pleasure derived from no longer worrying about missing out on what other people are doing or saying."

This is a concept we have been waiting for. 
I am writing this post on what I insouciantly describe as my free time, after having checked work email, two personal emails, Facebook, Twitter, Romenesko, and a handful of other sites. This is also the routine for my days off and vacation time. Discovering JOMO has liberating potential. 

I had had intimations of the concept. When I was no longer in graduate school, freed from social pressure to keep au courant, I could ignore whatever book or author was being widely talked and written about, following my own tastes and preferences.*


At The Sun, early in the days of using Outlook, I once accidentally deleted my entire message list: scores of messages, perhaps hundreds. And there was absolutely no consequence.

And those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter know my routine on the days the Ravens are playing: Dash home from church, lock the doors, draw the blinds, turn out the lights, and lie on the floor in a darkened room until it's all over.


Imagine the benefits of putting JOMO into practice. You can simply ignore the things that Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh say, since the people who take them seriously are impervious to reason, and anyone else who points to them is merely trying to bait you into the lefty version of crazy rage.

If you have Netflix, you can watch the late Joan Hickson as Miss Marple (the supreme Miss Marple; accept no substitutes) instead of submitting yourself to a barrage of yammering political ads of questionable honesty and tacky aesthetics.

In JOMO we perhaps see a complement to the Italian dolce far niente. To the sweetness of doing nothing, we can add the joy of not paying attention.

*A professor when I was at Michigan State, Bernard Paris, observed a useful principle: Never read a book until it has been print for five years. That spares the reader from the superficial and merely trendy. "Now I no longer have to read The Greening of America," he said. I commend the Paris Principle to you.