Fear Of Missing Out Drives Social Media Use

According to the State of Social Media study, recently released by Harris Interactive and MyLife, 62% of adults who are currently a member of more than one social networking site, say they keep an eye on their social networks because they don’t want to miss something (“Fear of missing out: FOMO”). The findings also indicate that nearly 40% would rather undertake unpleasant or potentially painful activities before they would give up their social networking profiles.

Jeff Tinsley, CEO of My Life, concludes that “... consumers are bombarded with so much information online... (that) anxiety around missing out has shifted to digital lives (reliance on social networks)... many people would rather run a marathon or spend a night in jail than give up their Facebook or Twitter account...”

Not only are consumers afraid that they’re missing out if they go too long between log-ins, but the younger generation often checks in with their friends and followers online before they’ve even “rubbed the sleep from their eyes,” says the report. More than half of social media multi-taskers want a solution to help them manage their online overload.     

62% of online adults who are members of more than one social networking site say they keep an eye on their social networks because they don’t want to miss news, an important event or status update:

  • 72% of those who are single or never married say the same
  • 38% of social media users age 18-34 who have multiple profiles log onto their social networking profiles after they wake up before they check email
  • 57% wish there was a solution to help them use, monitor and protect their social networking profiles and emails at once
  • 27% send messages from within their social network more than from their primary email account

Many social media users, including more than half of Gen Y, would prefer to undergo an arduous task than be forced to delete their social media accounts. Nearly 40% of people surveyed would rather do ANY of the following than give up their social networking profiles:

  • Wait in line at the DMV
  • Read War & Peace
  • Do their taxes
  • Give up an hour of sleep each night for a year
  • Run a marathon  
  • Sit in traffic for 4 hours while listening to polka music
  • Get a root canal  
  • Spend a night in jail
  • Clean the drains in the showers at the local gym  
  • Give up their air conditioner/heater

And 54% of 18-34-year-old social media users would undertake one of the undesirable activities before giving up their social media profiles, says the report. 

Though Facebook is known to be the most popular social network worldwide, it does not top social media users’ lists when it comes to being the primary social profile they turn to for consuming or sharing content, or even a mix of both:

  • 68% of online adults who are a member of LinkedIn say they use the site mainly to consume content.
  • YouTube (57%) and Twitter (53%) were next in line where users tend to primarily view content without sharing 
  • Pinterest (48%) edged out Facebook (46%) as the site where users are most likely to equally consume and share content 

Tinsley concludes that “... while everyone knows different social networks serve different purposes, the way people are using sites to consume or share content doesn’t fall in line with what we might expect... ”

For more information from mylife, please visit here.



2 comments about "Fear Of Missing Out Drives Social Media Use".
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  1. Chris Stinson from Non-Given, August 7, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.

    40% would prefer a root canal (or a few other things many have done before, and been no worst off)??

    Sounds like social media is a addiction and most at some point will need some serious help.....

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, August 7, 2012 at 12:46 p.m.

    The ability to read War and Peace is a privilege.

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