What does FOBO stand for?

Fear of being on

FOBO is an acronym for “fear of being on.” It’s a term that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among those who were new to working from home.

The term represents the stress people feel when they have to remember to switch off their webcams or mute their microphones during online meetings. The idea is to avoid sharing anything embarrassing unintentionally over platforms like Zoom.

The term FOBO was first used in an article on Slate in October 2020. The article, written by a journalist named Heather Schwedel, was called The FOBO Is Real.

Seven months into the pandemic in the United States, Schwedel wrote about FOBO, suggesting most remote workers probably had some level of this fear. However, a reporter from The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin, proved her wrong in a notable incident.

Example for using ‘FOBO’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that video of the guy who forgot to turn off his webcam during a Zoom meeting?

Yes! That’s a classic case of FOBO right there πŸ˜‚

Haha, definitely! I always double-check before I join a meeting now.

Same here! FOBO is real, and we don’t want any embarrassing moments!