Do you ever feel that you have to check your cell phone a lot? Do you feel frustrated when you miss friends’ recent updates? I feel myself deeply falling into this phenomenon. Last night when we were on the way back home from a concert, everybody on the subway was on cell phone updating and checking their SSN. It reminds of a study I read rencently about the fear of missing out.
Przybylski, Murayama, DeHaan and Gladwell (2013) have done a series of studies regarding this phenomenon. According to the study, the fear of being disconnected with others and a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent is defined as “fear of missing out” (FoMO). The research further revealed that younger generation tend to be more engaged with social media and FoMO. People who are have high level of FoMO spend more time in SSN. And they are more likely to be distracted by SSN in university lecture and during driving.
The development of social media has made communication and catching up easier than ever. One can easily know what activities others are participating and what activities one can be engaging in. However, given that the time and energy one have is limited, the unlimited information about those activities can be overwhelming and cause anxiety. The self-determination theory asserted that self-regulation and psychological health are based on the satisfaction of three basic psychological needs: competence, autonomy and relatedness. The study indicated that low level of satisfaction of those three basic needs is related with FoMO. People who are low in those psychological needs are more likely to gravitate towards social media use because it can be used as a tool to stay connected with others and to development social competence.
Want to know your level of FoMO? Here is an online test. Unsuprisingly, I am pretty high in FoMO. FoMO test
Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013), “Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out.”, Computers in Human Behavior 29 (4): 1841–1848, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014