Social networks like Facebook and Instagram are often utilised as the first point of call for organising nights out, parties and family gatherings. The platforms also keep users connected by allowing them to share their experiences during the night our and in the aftermath. With increasing pressure to always be socialising and sharing, those of us contemplating joining the fun suffer from the fear of missing out or FOMO, for short.
FOMO – The fear of missing out
We’ve taken a look at some of the actual posts Facebook users share on Saturday nights. Call us nosy, but there are trends that can be established by our stalking activity – something which can help to illuminate the ways in which businesses could capitalise on the information shared on social media sites.
FOMO examples on social media
We’ve noticed a cyclical trend that continues to reemerge as the weekend approaches, where Facebook users feel an unconscious compulsion to either say “I’m going out” or “I’m staying in” on a Saturday evening. The best thing is that loads of businesses can use this fear to their advantage, let’s see how.
“I’m out! Look at me having a great time!”
First up, the out-and-about crowd. Here are four examples we stumbled upon in one Saturday evening (it was hard to narrow them down, our newsfeed was bombarded with them!):
1) The “Wish you were here?” post …
2) The “I can’t imagine your evening is as fun as mine” post …
3) The “check me out, still partying past my bedtime” post …
4) And last but not least, the “piecing together the hazy events of the evening” post …
But, hang on a minute, not everyone can be out! Here are four examples of people who felt equally compelled to announce to their newsfeed, why they’re not out:
“I’m staying in.”
1) The “sorry guys, I’m still recovering from a crazy night last night” post …
2) The “I’m too ill, party on without me!” post …
3) There’s always someone with the “I regret staying in tonight” post …
4) And the plain and simple, the “I’m being boring tonight, but I’m still having a great time” post…
The key question is why do users feel compelled to write these types of posts? How do they want others to respond to them? Do they care if others respond at all? For the everyday social stalker and networking enthusiast, these types of posts can unquestionably be a bit annoying! We can spot the brag on our newsfeed a mile off and are left wondering whether these posts are all for show. Are the people in question simply sharing what they think others expect of them? Is it a cycle whereby everyone is posting about having a great time out, so their networks feel like they have to too? Do people worry that if they don’t update their Facebook friends of what they’re doing, they will think they’re not doing anything? Is it a case of “if Facebook doesn’t know, it never happened”?
Pubs, bars, and restaurants leveraging FOMO
There’s another side to this. For pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants (and even alcohol brands), these are exactly the types of conversations they want people to have! The fact that, for whatever reason, people feel compelled to tell the world about their Saturday night, allows brands to get involved. They can use this to communicate directly with customers, engage directly with potential customers, and get the name of their venue or brand out there. For hospitality businesses it’s a no-brainer. These conversations are going on about your venue whether you know about it or not. You might as well be involved!
Are you having fun or are you just tweeting about how you’re having fun?
Twitter users send millions of tweets per day. These tweets vary in content; personal opinions, musings, information-based or even news events. More frequently they refer to what the tweeter is doing. Tapping 280 characters out on a smartphone whilst out and about is the norm. The question is, however, if a person is attending an event and is constantly tweeting about how much fun it is, is it really that fun? If your face is buried into a smartphone are you really having a blast?
The first thing that comes to mind is the saying “time flies when you’re having fun”. When you’re actively having fun, you don’t check your phone often. People are distracted by life; they are enjoying themselves without tweeting about it. Having fun is spontaneous. Surely if you were having so much fun you would be indulging and living in the moment, not tweeting about it.
Take a few minutes and scroll down your Twitter feed and you’ll be sure to stumble upon an offending tweet or two:
The latest phenomenon is to pull out a smartphone and commemorate special occasions. During a wedding watching the bride and groom walking down the isle is a poignant moment, one that shouldn’t be seen through the lens of a smartphone or discussed on a Twitter feed. Guests’ distraction keeps them from being truly present in the there and now. This can only be deemed unacceptable if the bride and groom aren’t in on the act themselves – tweeting about how much fun their own wedding is. Perhaps one day in the near future wedding dresses will come with phone pockets!
One of the benefits of social media is the ability to share your personal brand with the world and being heard and known in the community. It’s also about showing the world what you get up to and the events you attend. So is ‘live tweeting’ about ‘having fun’ more about users showing off their social calendar? By sharing with your network the event you’re attending, you are evidencing that you are sociable and outgoing, even if this means you aren’t actually having the great time your tweet makes out.
Social media users demonstrate an edited version of themselves online. They want their users to see them in the best light. We want others to see we lead fun and interesting lives. It’s an interesting segment of human psychology. Take for instance, Aston Martin. Only 70,000 vehicles have ever been made, yet on Facebook they have 4 million likes! Being associated with sports cars and the iconic super spy James Bond only heightens credibility and the idea that you’re fun and cool.
On the other hand, social networking is a great way to connect with others and form active communities. Live tweeting along with sporting events and TV shows has become increasingly popular, and turns it into a social and interactive activity. It is, therefore, possible to be having fun whilst tweeting! It is also a means by which to share news of fun activities to encourage others to get involved and take part, and it allows users and followers to interact and share what we get up to.
So the next time you are having fun, live in the moment and enjoy it. Feel free to share it with followers, but afterwards not during. Keep your phone confined to your pocket!
Here at JC Social Media we are FULL of ideas! There are a number of innovative and exciting ways that bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants can use posts like these to their advantage so read more here.