A ‘fear of missing out’ may drive users to social media

August 05, 2012

LOS ANGELES, Aug 5 — Root canal, taxes, even a night in jail — these are just a few of the things Americans would rather do than surrender their social media profile, according to a new survey released this week. The reason? Fear of missing out.

According to a survey sponsored by MyLife, which provides social media dashboards that enable consumers to manage multiple social networks and email accounts, more than half of social media users (62 per cent) stay tuned to their networks to avoid missing out on news or status updates.

The survey — which involved 2,000 participants — found that social media users are afraid they’re missing out if they go too long between log-ins. For users between 18 and 34 years old, they often log onto their networks first thing in the morning, groggy-eyed, to see what they “missed out” on during sleep.

Nearly 40 per cent of the respondents — 54 per cent for those between 18 and 34 — agreed they would rather give up centralised air conditioning or sit in four hours of traffic while listening to polka music, among other hardships, than sacrifice Twitter. Here are a few other preferred activities:

• Wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles

• Read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”

• Do their taxes

• Give up an hour of sleep each night for a year

• Run a marathon

• Get a root canal

• Spend a night in jail

• Clean the drains in the showers at the local gym

• Give up their heater

“Consumers are bombarded with so much information online — from status updates and photos to tweets and check-ins — that our anxiety around ‘missing out’ has shifted to our digital lives,” said Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife. “The fact that many people would rather run a marathon or spend a night in jail than give up their Facebook or Twitter account is proof positive.”

Other motives driving the addiction? According to a study from Harvard, posting your views and opinions on Facebook and other social media sites delivers a powerful reward to the brain similar to the pleasure from food and sex. — AFP/Relaxnews