Social Media Addiction Based on Fear of Missing Out

Ned Smith, BusinessNewsDaily Senior Writer

Americans are so addicted to their social networks that they'd rather have a root canal than surrender their social media profile, a new survey found.  The reason? FOMO – fear of missing out.

Of adults who are a member of more than one social networking site, well more than half – 62 percent –  keep an eye on their social networks because they don't want to miss something such as news or an important event or status update, according to a survey of more than 2,000 consumers sponsored by MyLife, which provides social media dashboards that enable consumers to manage multiple social networks and email accounts in one place.

Not only are consumers afraid they're missing out if they go too long between log-ins, the younger generation often checks in with their friends and followers online before they're fully awake in the morning, the survey found.

How strong is that compulsion?  Nearly 40 percent of the respondents agreed they would rather do any of the following than give up their social networking profiles:

  • Wait in line at the DMV
  • Read "War and Peace"
  • Do their taxes
  • Give up an hour of sleep each night for a year
  • Run a marathon
  • Sit in traffic for four 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

Millennial social media users (between 18 and 34 years old) have an even worse case of FOMO. More than half of them – 54 percent – would undertake one of these onerous activities rather than give up their social media profiles.

"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."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith and BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+ .

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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