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If you are addicted to your social media, it’s because you suffer of FOMO

A recent research (Blackwell et al. 2017) has investigated the antecedents of social media addiction. In other words, what makes us look at Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter dozens of times every single day.
Five variables were tested : age, extraversion, neuroticism, avoidance, anxiety, and Fear of Missing Out (FoMO). The results, published in the per-reviewed journal “Personality and Individual Differences” show that only fear of missing out is significantly correlated with social media addiction (you may be interested to read my two other articles on social media addiction here and there).

What is FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) ?

FoMO is “defined as a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, [and] is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.” (Przybylski et al. 2013). FoMO arises from “situational or chonic deficits in psychological needs satisfation”.
A scale has even been defined by the same authors to measure FoMO. Take the test if you want to know whether your psychological needs are unsatisfied.

What does it say about me ?

If you are addicated to social media (see next section) it’s probably because you have deficits in competence, autonomy and/or relatedness. All 3 are dimensions of the self-determination theory.
Be careful though ! While autonomy and relatedness are self-explaining concepts, “competence” means here the “capacity to effectively act on the world”.

Testing Fear of Missing Out

Here are the 10 questions defined by Przybylski et al. (2013) to measure Fear of Missing Out. Take the test ! (the scale is a 5-point Likert scale from “not at all true for me” to “extremely true of me”)

1. I fear others have more rewarding experiences than me.
2. I fear my friends have more rewarding experiences than me.
3. I get worried when I find out my friends are having fun without me.
4. I get anxious when I don’t know what my friends are up to.
5. It is important that I understand my friends ‘‘in jokes’’.
6. Sometimes, I wonder if I spend too much time keeping up with what is going on.
7. It bothers me when I miss an opportunity to meet up with friends.
8. When I have a good time it is important for me to share the details online (e.g. updating status).
9. When I miss out on a planned get-together it bothers me.
10. When I go on vacation, I continue to keep tabs on what my friends are doing.



Image : shutterstock

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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