FOMO: How Social Networks Influence Our Vacations

The world today is becoming increasingly connected. If a decade ago, computers were pretty much the only devices we used to connect to the internet, today, we have many more options to choose from, ranging from smartwatches to smart TVs. Most of us use these screens to consume various forms of entertainment – text, and video, music and pictures – and to follow various individuals, from friends and family to celebrities and “influencers” on various social networks. The latter, in turn, is having an effect on our everyday lives that you might not have expected – they, at least in part, decide where we go on vacations.

Enter the influencers

People don’t share their “real” life on Facebook, Instagram, and the rest of the similar networks – they share what they think the others will “Like”. They are doing so for the validation they feel when the number of likes on their update is high. This, in turn, creates a skewed image of their life – one filled with fun, parties, trips to the most Instagram-worthy locations, picture-perfect dinners, and sunsets, and other enviable adventures.

These social media shares have been proven to awaken the envy of those who see them – us. Consciously or not, we start to crave for the things we see others buy, visit, and do, and we don’t. This feeling is usually described by the scientists as a “fear of missing out” – FOMO for short.

The better-known a person is, the more influence they have on their followers. The thought leaders, the celebrities, the star athletes or politicians of our time have perhaps the most influence on the decisions taken by their followers – they are the true influencers of our times.

Influence and travel

Studies have shown that people are indeed influenced by the updates of their social media peers when deciding where to spend their vacations. MDG Advertising, a marketing firm from the United Kingdom, has surveyed a large number of UK-based millennials about the influence of social network updates on their vacationing habits. More than 40% of the participants at the survey have admitted having considered how instagrammable a location is before booking a trip. And they can’t – or won’t – stay away from their social media presence while there, either – over three-quarters of them have admitted to having used their phones to post updates, pictures, and videos, reviewing hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments. And by doing so, they trigger the FOMO of others.

Social networks are the perfect medium for promoting brands, products, and services – but in many cases, there is no need for promotion: the way our minds work will do on itself.

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