Multimedia designer Lara Défayes has designed a three-piece survival kit to help with the uniquely contemporary condition known as FOMO. FOMO (“Fear of missing out) is internet slang used to describe the feeling of anxiety when not wanting to miss out on a potentially enjoyable event. Designed by Switzerland-based designer Défayes for her diploma project at ECAL, the FOMO Survival Kit treats FOMO by helping users identify if an event is worth going to and how to reach it.
Contained in an aluminium tin, the urban survival kit is designed to be used without any external help. The kit contains three practical, vibrant red items: a whistle, a compass and a flashlight. The idea is that, collectively, the items solve the who, where and when of FOMO. Information including the location, time and guest list from the user's Facebook events are analysed and synced to the three objects via Bluetooth. The whistle is designed to read out the guest list of the event on the social calendar. With each blow on the attached pressure sensor, a name from the guest list of the nearest event is read out through the speaker located at the end of the whistle. The compass simply directs the user to the location of the event with its red arrow. The flashlight, finally, acts as a countdown to let the user know how long they have until the event starts. The first set of vibrations and flashes represents the number of hours remaining, and the second set represents the number of minutes.
Défayes said of her decidedly tongue-in-cheek project: “I think we all suffer from FOMO on a daily basis even without knowing it. It's not just the millennials. FOMO is real and all around us. It is not something that we can fight against, and we shouldn't necessarily fight it; we should maybe embrace it. I see the urban environment as a jungle. That's why I'm giving people willing to get into social survival mode surviving tools. It aims to emphasise and make people more aware of this intense, sometimes addictive, relationship that our social life maintains with our social media.”
The term FOMO is so commonly used on social media that it was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013. Défayes' product follows a tradition of irreverent survival kits inspired by first aid but designed to tackle more nebulous scenarios. Mexican branding company Menosunocerouno designed a limited-edition end-of-the-world survival kit in 2012 including a knife, notebook, matches and original Mayan liqueur.