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

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.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • This again?

    Do you ever write any articles yourself Eileen? All I see from you are articles citing other articles or galleries with not even a description, if it's that easy to be a Zdnet writer, where can I apply for the job? I could make a script to automatically post a random article from other site on my behalf
    • I thought much the same- Was this a PR release for MyLife?

      This article reads like 80 percent of it was copied and pasted from a PR release. Lame content generation on this site seems to be an ever increasing norm.
      • It's, not Its

        A PR firm knows how to grammatically set a headline. ;)
  • Guilty as charged.

    This article kind of sums up my facebook usage, and I'm a social introvert in public.
    Richard Estes
  • ...

    Am I the only person left who doesn't share personal details under my own name online, or obsessively track other peoples'? I have several social network accounts, but the only one I check regularly is Tumblr, for matters completely unrelated to my offline life. If my friends and family want to convey something important that I really need to know, they have my phone number, e-mail address and house address!
  • Bogus survey

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

    Ummm - and then you found that they were managing multiple social network profiles, when you only surveyed people who were a member of more than one network. How strange! You survey a group of people who are, by selection, addicted to social networking and find they are addicted to social networking.
    This was not a survey - this is a marketing tool by MyLife to prove to people that they need MyLife. This whole - whatever this post is - is completely false and pointless. It's just an ad for MyLife. Did they pay ZDNet to post this?
  • "...and we all suffer FOMO."

    Ahhh...sorry to be the one to break this to you dear...but there are some of us who have absolutely no interest in ANY of this social networking crap whatsoever. Really.
    • Thank you

      I have to agree with you there. Facebook is like a huge Muppet ballet and I am not a fan of either Muppets or ballet.

      On the other hand, if someone wants to socially engineer someone Facebook is better than digging through their trashcan.
    • Agree

      I am not on any of the SNs at all. I will be 65 next week and have enough problems keeping up with three personal and one work email account. I rarely use gmail as the other two, Hotmail and ISP provided, are more than enough to keep up with. I have over 100 unread mails on both, with more coming each day!
      I missed the "its", but artbrymer is correct, it is not the possesive tense but a contraction and needs the appostrophe.
      I am in the local phonebook, my frienda and relatives know my home phone # and my cell #, my physical address and my email addresses, enough ways to contact me w/o having more.
  • Pulling the plug takes on a whole new meaning...

    ... for the already brain-dead social networkers. It's not FOMO, it's Soma.
  • Who needs FB? Not me!

    I'm 51 and neither have a Facebook account nor am I on Twitter. I momentarily installed WhatsApp on my phone, but was horrified to find that everyone in my contacts list was instantly notified that I had joined - and I had no way to control that. So I promptly un-installed WhatsApp.

    My only form of SN indulgence is LinkedIn, and I keep that strictly professional. it's one of the better managed sites that gives you a semblance of control, but I see that changing gradually too (for the worse).
  • I can see I'm not a conformist

    I'm not a Twit. I don't do Pintrest. I use LinkedIn once in a blue moon. And Facebook gets looked at about once a week as I check over my dozen or so closest relatives posts for the week.
  • So funny how this...

    ....comes on the heels of data saying that people are taking extended breaks from sites like TheFaceBook... And that user log-ins are at an annual low, which has been cited as partly due to summer.

    Perhaps before publishing something, you should check up on your local news.