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July 11, 2013

The Latest Social Syndrome: The Fear of Missing Out

Social media has created a new syndrome: FOMO (fear of missing out).

A national survey on social media behavior by MyLife, a Web presence management firm, has found that as the number of social networks continue to grow, people are not only becoming overwhelmed but fearful of missing something “important” should they decide to take a social break.

Of those surveyed, 56 percent of people are afraid of missing important posts if they don’t regularly check their social networks.

According to the study, the first thing 27 percent of people do upon waking each morning is check their social networks and 35 percent spend more than half an hour each day on social networking sites and responding to personal e-mails. Of the 42 percent of people with multiple social accounts, 61 percent fall into the 18-34 age category.

The survey also discovered more than half of social network users want to pull the plug on the habit. In fact, 52 percent have either taken or considered taking a “vacation” from at least one social network in the past year. Of the 52 percent, 41 percent stated it was because social updates were not “relevant” while 32 percent indicated it was a drain on their time.