Home > Uncategorized > How Social Media Can Induce Feelings of ‘Missing Out’

How Social Media Can Induce Feelings of ‘Missing Out’


    How many times do you check your Facebook or Twitter during a day? When the social media becomes a ubiquitous part of our lives, in addition to its influence on marketing campaign and advertising, social media has made an ineradicable mark on human behavior. With the rise of social networking, it makes us detach friends closer together. However, there has the dark side as well. Besides the downfall of privacy, what about a new fear makes our neuroses become anxiety…the fear of missing out?

    The New York Times’ Jenna Wortham has published an article named “How Social Media Can Induce Feelings of ‘Missing Out’.” She highlighted a behavioral phenomenon called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and looked at the effect social media has on our perceptions of our friends and ourselves. FOMO refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Billions of messages, status updates and pictures on different social media provide us “peek” the daily lives and activities of our friends easily. Viewing postings and pictures from our friends or family around the different countries usually makes us feel close to them. Watching friends who upload photos of their last weekend’s certainly awesome activities on the Facebook is invaluable as a recommendation activity list for us. It seems that social media has certainly changed our lives…and in many ways it has done so for the better.

    But, occasionally, there is a darker side. When we scroll our friends’ picture and status updates, the bed feeling in our mind is triggered off by the fear of regret. According to Dan Ariely, author of “Predictably Irrational” and a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, he mentions that we become afraid that if we spend our time on a wrong way. When we saw friend talking about their interesting weekend, we probably started to rethinked our weekend plan and evaluated it was fun enough or not.    

    Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, the photo-sharing service, said, “Social software is both the creator and the cure of FOMO,” adding, “It’s cyclical.” The creators of social apps usually construct their services to make people keep coming back for more. People using Facebook and twitter are rewarded when someone likes their postings so they keep back to track others’ feedback.  

    Moreover, people feel missing out when they see someone else having a good time is probably overstated by the overall effect of so many new social data streams pouring into browsers and mobile phones.

    Of course, fear of missing out is not a new word. It has been induced throughout by other traditional media as newspaper society pages, party pictures and e-mail before. But now, instead of receiving occasional polite updates, we get reminders around the social media everywhere, no matter it is polite or not.

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