May 3, 2011

‘Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)’

Posted by: in North America

Our May trend report takes a close look at FOMO, a four-letter acronym that has come to so fittingly characterize our radically transparent, real-time, one-upping, hashtag-ridden and, let’s face it, generally overwhelming world. For those unfamiliar with the expression, that’s Fear Of Missing Out, the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling you’re missing out—that your peers are doing, in the know about or in possession of more or something better than you.

While we’ve always had a fear of missing out, today it’s exploding with the proliferation of real-time, location-based and social media tools. We’re exposed more than ever before to what others around us are doing, and we’re filled with a gnawing uncertainty about whether we’ve made the right choice about what to do or where to be—not just in a given moment but in stages of our lives as well. Our friends aren’t helping, touting their every FOMO-worthy move on the go.

This report identifies which cohort is most prone to FOMO and how they respond to it, spotlights how FOMO is manifesting in the zeitgeist, and looks at the wide-ranging potential for brands seeking to tap into FOMO.

The report includes insights from interviews with experts and influencers in technology and academia and results of a quantitative study conducted in the U.S. and the U.K. Using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, the survey was conducted from March 4-15, 2011, among 590 Americans and 434 Britons aged 18-plus; we also polled 87 teens aged 13-17 residing in the homes of adults surveyed. We also consulted our internal Bing team, who had carried out its own strategic exploration of FOMO back in February.

To download the full report, click here.

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