Its not Facebook, its Crackbook - and we all suffer FOMO

Summary:FOMO -- fear of missing out is keeping us addicted to our social networking sites according to a new connecting and communicating study released today.

Our online lives are becoming more complicated. We are becoming overwhelmed with juggling the increasing number of social networks and email accounts we manage. We suffer from a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and are considering taking a “vacation” from social media altogether.

"People desire one single experience to manage their identities, connections and messages across services as the problem is only getting worse every day.” - Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife.

According to the MyLife 2013 Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media study we juggle too many online profiles.

MyLife is an online hub to manage your online life. It has more than 63 million users and is based in Los Angeles CA. It commissioned a survey from May 31-June 4, 2013 amongst 2,084 adults aged 18 and older.

Adults were surveyed who were currently a member of more than one social networking site with at least one email address.

The survey found that 42 percent of online adults manage multiple social networking profiles -- a number that jumps to 61 percent for those in 18-34 year age range.

More than half of all respondents (51 percent) belong to more social networks or visit their networks more frequently than two years ago.

“It’s universally accepted that people are living much of the lives online – their ‘Internet identities’ are their true identities" - Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife.

The average adult also manages 3.1 email addresses, up from 2.6 addresses last year. 

68 percent of us manage different sets of friends, family, colleagues and contacts across multiple social networks.

More than half (52 percent) of respondents have either taken or considered taking a “vacation” from one or more social networks in the past year.

Two in three (56 percent) experience anxiety around missing an important event or status update if they don’t keep an eye on their social networks.

Social networking is our addiction. Facebook is our Crackbook. 26 percent of respondents also reported they would rather give up cigarettes or reality TV before they would give up their social networking profiles.

Our personal and professional online behavior shows that email is still relevant to us. Our adoption of LinkedIn is on the rise growing from 22 percent to 29 percent over the last year. Foursquare is least popular network amongst respondents.  

Beyond calls or texts to mobile phones, 57 percent of users stay in touch with friends through personal email accounts. This is more than via social networks (47 percent) or landline calls (37 percent).

We behave in a gender specific way too online. Men tend to prefer Twitter and Instagram whilst Pinterest is preferred by women:

  • Men (28 percent) are more likely than women (21 percent) to currently be a member of Twitter
  • Women (13 percent) are more likely than men (3 percent) to currently be a member of Pinterest
  • Amongst millennials, 16 percent of men use Instagram whereas 11 percent of women use the tool
  • While YouTube is the third most popular social network among men (29 percent), only 10 percent of women have a YouTube account
  • 55 percent of women are more likely to use social networking sites to reconnect with people from the past compared with 42 percent of men. For women aged 45-54, this increases to 63 percent.

Regardless of gender we would all like to see celebrity updates disappear from our social networking feeds above petitions, selfies and food porn.

“It’s universally accepted that people are living much of the lives online – their ‘Internet identities’ are their true identities, and they are spending an increasing amount of time managing all their connections and communications across multiple services, leading consumers to feel overwhelmed,” said Jeff Tinsley, CEO of MyLife.

“Our second annual survey on social media behavior proves, once again that people desire one single experience to manage their identities, connections and messages across services as the problem is only getting worse every day.”

Because of these growing numbers, nearly 3 in 5 (58 percent) of respondents wish for a single tool to help them manage their online lives as they become overwhelmed with the information streams from different sources.

Half of the social networker respondents reported experiencing FOMO, worrying whether they have missed something critical from a co-worker, their boss, friend or family member.

Einstein said ‘It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity’. What a shame that our FOMO, our addiction to Facebook and other social networking sites keeps us away from living our real life.

Topics: Social Enterprise


Eileen Brown is a social business consultant who has been working with collaborative technologies for 20 years. Eileen creates the social business, energises communities and ignites social commerce and social CRM. She develops social business strategy, customer reach and online branding. Her book, Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketi... Full Bio

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