Picture it: You’re at a party with all your friends. You’re enjoying good company, great conversation and even better food. By all measures, you’re having the time of your life. But still, you feel that itch – that inescapable urge to check your cell phone and see what’s happening on Facebook.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. The condition is called the Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO. And according to the MyLife 2013 Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media study, 56% of us suffer from FOMO-caused anxiety, worried that we’ll miss out on an important event or status update if we don’t stay up to date with our Facebook feeds.
Perhaps the news shouldn't come as a surprise. We’re spending more time on social networking sites than ever before, and managing more profiles on them to boot. According to the study, 51% of us are using sites like Facebook more often than we were two years ago, and 42% of us are struggling to manage multiple social media accounts. Over a quarter of Americans surveyed “check their social networks first thing as soon as they wake up.”
All that extra time clocked on Facebook isn’t necessarily good for our collective mental health. An increasing number of people are showing signs of Facebook addiction – an actual condition, according to psychology researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway. Symptoms are strikingly similar to drug and alcohol addiction: trying to cut back on Facebook time without success, using Facebook to forget about problems and having your use of Facebook negatively impact your job.
For more on the MyLife 2013 Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media study, click the infographic on the right.