Your Online Community Can Help You Overcome FOMO

As an extroverted, networking, coach-defined community person, social distancing and self-isolation can be beyond difficult; causing my FOMO (fear of missing out) to be exaggerated even when I am fed the common expression and hashtag, #Inittogether.

Prior to the pandemic, my time spend on social media was very focused and intentional; especially on LinkedIn. Even though I socialize, it is a place where I continually and consistently build content to share, teach, and inspire.

However, since the pandemic hit, I am using it as a way for me to fight that terrible and uncomfortable feeling of missing out.

To be honest, I never thought I would need my LinkedIn community to help me get through this uncertain and upsetting time, but I am. The virtual and global collaborations, meetings, coffee dates, cocktail hours, summits, courses, hangouts, and even dance parties have made my creative juices soar and my networking muscles stronger.

It wasn’t like this in the beginning though. To be honest, I didn’t feel ready to be “stretched” any further on LinkedIn. I did not feel ready to take any additional risks but, was open to any invitations of course. Almost immediately, when the pandemic hit, I could see people adapting, embracing the chance, and committing to making the time in isolation matter. I have to say, all this new activity rapidly transferred my FOMO online.

I have heard many stories of how often social media activities can exacerbate FOMO for some. Many people can feel that they are not contributing enough, not active enough, not learning enough, not sharing enough, and not “enjoying” the pandemic enough. I suddenly understood what that all meant but, was determined to turn it around.

I knew that I had to turn those feelings of undeniable and uncontrollable envy, into something positive.

We are all somewhat forced to rely on social media for social engagement; the virtual community building remains strong and really is the most viable option if we miss connecting and interacting with other people.

There is a caveat though. We must all find our unique virtual path during times of change; tapping into our own specific interests, finding the right space to cultivate it, fighting the fear, beating down imposter syndrome, and lowering our expectations. We will also have to lead, and not just follow, so that we do not get into the cycle of waiting for invitation after invitation and then getting upset when one does not make its way to us.

After giving it a bit of time, I decided to reach out to my community and let them know that I would be hosting a one-of-a-kind LinkedIn Endorsement Party; a chance for people to raise others up, build community, and sprinkle tons of LinkedIn endorsement goodness on a global scale. I felt a bit of pressure. After all, it would be a first of its kind and I would need to rely on the help of my online community to make it happen and to ensure that the word would spread.

This forced reality, brought on by the pandemic, positively forced me to stretch outside of my comfort zone. But I knew I had two choices; Sit on the sidelines and watch the action around me or let it be the force that would move me into action. I chose to move into action and saw my LinkedIn troops rally behind me as we managed collectively to throw a global LinkedIn Endorsement Party like no other.

We must all accept that this is the new “normal” for now but that not all is lost. We can all think of this period as a time to build up and explore our online community and what we can do to make it our own and make it work for us. Life, as it once was, has simply been put on pause and not on stop.

I can’t wait for the day to hold a LinkedIn Endorsement Party offline again; to share laughs, storytelling, and interaction without the necessity of a computer screen to make it happen. I look forward to the day where I no longer must Zoom-In, and virtual social-connection is no longer the main and only catalyst for human connection.

But for now, especially during uncertain times, I keep in mind that every single person feels a certain level of FOMO at different times throughout their lives. I also keep in mind that reaching out to online friends can, in fact, put things in perspective, offer us opportunities to grow, turn FOMO into BTAIM: Be That As It May, and help release the anxiety of “missing out” on anything.


Shelly Elsliger
Shelly Elsliger
Shelly Elsliger is an engaging LinkedIn Trainer and President of Linked-Express. She coaches executives, diverse leaders, aspiring women leaders, business students and job seekers, as well as corporate teams; inspiring them to maximize their professional branding potential and their social influence on LinkedIn. Shelly is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), recognized as a Woman you Need to Know by the National Women Speakers Association, a Forbes Writer, a Women of Inspiration Winner 2019, and on the list of globally recognized LinkedIn Training Experts. She is also the LinkedIn Trainer for Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario and the Founder of the #DecidetobeKind Campaign to stand up against bullying on LinkedIn Shelly’s diverse experience as a professional LinkedIn Trainer and Coach allows her to bring a unique breadth of knowledge, as well as an aspect of fun and passion, to all her workshops and speaking engagements especially "LinkedIn in High-Heels: Rise Up and Lead Online"; her signature workshop aimed at helping women business leaders successfully rise up, own their space and find their voice online. Her motto:"Instead of waiting to be noticed first, be a Leader in your space-Lean-In, Listen-In, and Link-In!"

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  1. LOL! I adore you Shelly! It’s amazing to me how different we are! I have whatever is the opposite of FOMO – maybe WTMO (WANT to miss out?)? All this activity leaves me feeling overwhelmed and wanting to turn it all off! I know you are spreading your goodness throughout the Linkedin universe, friend! Sending good thoughts!

    • Thanks Kim….I guess we can go through different thoughts at different times -sometimes FOMO and sometimes WTMO-good for a follow up article …sending good thoughts right back to you:)

  2. Social networks are back to the ‘meeting place’, the connection tool that they have always promised to be from the beginning.
    In span, we seem to be able to summarize the feeling of people, online, as a pendulum that oscillates between the desperate search for entertainment, distractions (at a time when the alternative to not thinking, is to live in constant anxiety) and that of updated, accurate, credible and useful sources of information. When the situation of isolation became a categorical imperative without a certain expiration date, the web and social networks experienced a new golden age as the main allies against loneliness.
    In fact, numerous initiatives and challenges were born on the various social networks to entertain, have fun and keep company. Social networks have also become a tool for rediscovering closeness and community.
    For example, bringing together emergency situations and business needs is an event that nobody is ever really ready to face, however the web offers innovative resources and ways to help people and companies deal with unexpected scenarios.

  3. Great perspective Shelly! Welcome to the BIZCATALYST360 fam!

    I, too, am an extrovert and this has been a real paradox for me as well. I started with LinkedIn years ago and really was not very active but in the past 2 yrs that has dramatically changed and I have been very grateful in recent months to connect with Dennis and all those connected through Humans First. Such a blessing and a needed outlet during these incredibly challenging and unusual times! Thank you!

  4. Welcome to the BizCatalyst family, Shelly! Thank you for sharing this piece with us. I often wonder how different navigating this pandemic would be if we didn’t have the advancements in technology we do now. However, as with many other situations, we would have figured out how to adapt then also.

    I’m thankful for the ability to get online, especially now, and feel a sense of connection. I’m also grateful that this lockdown is affording me the time to engage more readily, and build and foster relationships in a much more meaningful way. Since I’m currently not working, being able to watch a Linked In Live or tune into a webinar, or audit a course, fills some of that void and keeps my brain stimulated. While it doesn’t make up for running at moc speed, it is a welcome change. And likely one I didn’t realize that I needed.

    Interestingly, I’m learning during this pandemic that perhaps I’m not as extroverted as I thought. I think I lean more toward being an ambivert, considering that I’m not experiencing a huge FOMO. Or perhaps it is that I finally have time to write to my heart’s content. It’s certainly a time to recalibrate and reassess – and embrace the moments. It won’t last forever, and we’ll be back into a different routine at some point. So, my theory is enjoy it in the best ways possible now.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experience with us, Shelly. It’s great to e-meet you!

  5. Hello Shelley!
    Great article. As an active participant in your endorsement party, i am thrilled to see so much support.
    We were to meet in person and had our virtual night out too!
    We will one day.
    I too have done things I thought would set my anxiety level and ptsd on fire. Not to mention a cloak of depression I had finally burnt. The thought of isolation was a frightening one at first. But I’m ok.. I’m a little too busy, but I see accomplishments, support of others, strength in me… not at all what I thought with fear. I nailed that fear at times.. I surprised me.

    As for all the people telling me what to do or where to go and demanding my time… I decided to do my own walking and at a pace that wouldn’t kill me. To go where I saw value… still a lot to catch up on. I feel like I do miss out, but then I say if it’s meant for me to see the path will cross mine.
    You are a fabulous friend and a great writer! You touch so many lives and love your authenticity!
    Thank you my friend!

  6. Shelly, I love your article. While I am introverted and almost a hermit by nature, it’s great to hear from someone who admits to being an extroverted, networking, coach-defined community person. My nature does not cause me to feel like I am missing out, but your article is so very useful anyway.

    I was considering writing an article about what I want to read. I am personally tired of ANY articles telling me what to do. Instead, I enjoy someone saying this is what made an impact on my life…this is what I did about it. When someone writes from a perspective of what “should” be done, instead of what they have actually done, it feels a bit like someone wagging their finger at the reader.

    Thanks for being about you and your own experience.

  7. Shelly, I think it’s interesting that the web turned out to be so much more than what it was originally intended. Similarly, the lockdown had the potential to threaten our online and offline presence in each other’s lives, yet, it didn’t because we didn’t want it to end.. I sense many have gotten stronger and more focused on the fact that we not only want to have these relationships, we need them and want to nurture them into becoming more authentic and substantial.
    Nice share!