A Little Birdie Told Me

FOMO, fo’ sho.’

Translated into plain English, that’s “fear of missing out, for sure.”

As a Millennial, I admit to feeling this way at times—fearing that I’m missing out on something more exciting or fun than what I’m currently doing.

Social media plays a major role in this, of course. When you post a Facebook status proudly announcing that you just watched 12 episodes of Catfish without getting up to pee, only to see pictures of your friends repelling off of a cliff in Belize, you start to question how you’re spending your time. You forget that you just hiked through Yellowstone two weeks prior.

Twitter is no different. With public access to every celebrity’s account, I often find myself scrolling through pictures of Rebel Wilson hanging out courtside at a Lakers game, or Kimye—Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, for those of you who are too old or have too much of a life to know this—gallivanting around Paris.

I, on the other hand, am in my pajamas…jealous. Forgetting that I hate the Lakers. And that I’ve already gallivanted around Paris.

That’s FOMO for you.

In an effort to tap into my generation’s fear of missing out, one apartment community in an up-and-coming Washington, D.C., neighborhood is now trending among the young urban professional set, thanks to an innovative feature that puts the “social” in living social.

AVA H Street, managed by AvalonBay, offers apartment homes in an emerging urban core. The community’s common area, called “The Loft,” is located near the front lobby and functions as a social space for residents. A place where you shouldn’t be in your pajamas, cyber-stalking celebrities.

Here, AvalonBay was looking to add a unique feature wall concept that activated the space and could be a conversation starter. AVA engaged its audio-video consultant to get creative and put together some ideas for the wall.

The ultimate device chosen, known as the Trending Wall, came after Jeff Wood, AvalonBay Development Manager, noticed a “word cloud” during a TV show. (Word clouds are graphics that visually depict oft-search keywords and tags, usually using larger sizes or colors to represent the popularity of the term.) He says he thought it might be something interesting for an AVA loft, connecting residents to their neighborhood.

Now, any resident passing through AVA H Street’s Loft can instantly get an idea of what’s going on before they step foot outside. The Trending Wall recalculates and displays trending words every half-minute. Residents, thereby, can always feel like they’re in the know.  

Wood says another great thing about the Trending Wall is that it is multipurpose. Beyond generating word clouds every 30 seconds based on local tweets, it can also function as a big-screen TV, life-size gaming station, movie theater and Apple TV—“all of which are available to residents 24/7 with the touch-pad control on the side of the Trending Wall,” Wood says.

Forget Paris and cliff diving. This is living.

For more, check out Frank Mauck’s article, “A Trendsetting Amenity,” in the March units Technology Supplement, which mailed March 8.