62% of American adults say they are afraid of missing something (e.g., news, an important event or status update) if they do not keep an eye on their social networks, according to a July study released by MyLife.com, and conducted by Harris Interactive. The fear of missing out (FOMO) rises to 72% among singles.
In other results demonstrating the importance of social networks to respondents: 57% wish there was a solution to help them use, monitor and protect their social networking profiles and emails in one place (a sort of “social dashboard”); 27% send messages from within their social networks more than from their primary email accounts; and 38% of those 18-34 log onto social networks after they wake up, and before they check email.
Many SocNet Users Would Suffer Rather Than Unplug
Rather than surrender their social networking profiles, nearly 40% of Americans reported they would endure a range of activities, such as: wait in line; give up an hour of sleep each night for a year; sit in traffic for 4 hours listening to polka music; spend a night in jail; run a marathon; clean the shower drains at a local gym; read “War and Peace;” have a root canal; do their taxes; or wait in line at the DMV.
They may not be willing to give up their TVs, though: according to an April 2012 report from Ipsos, 74% of Americans would give up social networking before their TVs, a result that was far above the global average of 58%.
Youth Less Likely to Disconnect
Data from MyLife’s “2012 Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media” indicates that respondents aged 18-34 are far more likely than the average to say they would endure the activities above (52% vs. close to 40%). Like any addiction, though, these young social network users derive both joy and misery from their activities. Indeed, results from a Euro RSCG Worldwide survey released in April 2012 found that a majority of 18-34-year-olds (worldwide) reported that being on social media sites makes them better informed and is one of the main ways they stay connected with their friends. However, one-third also said that social networking makes them less satisfied with their own lives, and that they are envious of the lives they see others leading.
Of teens responding to a June Common Sense Media survey, 36% strongly (12%) or somewhat (24%) agree that they sometimes wish they could go back to a time when there was no Facebook. Additionally, 45% said they get frustrated with friends for texting or social networking while they’re hanging out together, and 43% wish they could unplug sometimes.
Facebook Trails In Content Consumption, Sharing
Meanwhile, Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide, but it is not Americans’ primary social profile for consuming or sharing content, found the MyLife study. For consumption (i.e. observing without actively posting), roughly two-thirds of respondents favor LinkedIn, followed by YouTube (57%), Twitter (53%) and Google + (49%). For content sharing, Foursquare passes Facebook (44% vs. 17%), and is followed by Tumblr (31%) and Twitter (18%). Pinterest (48%) tops Facebook (46%) as the social network on which people are most likely to consume and share content equally, while Tumblr was a close third (41%).
About The Data: The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of MyLife from July 13-17, 2012 among 2,037 adults ages 18 and older.