It’s not exactly news that social media use is a language in which teens are fluent. But a new phenomenon, identified recently in Social Media Daily as Fear of Missing Out (FOMO for short) is actually being linked to stress, depression and other negatives in teens and young adults.
And that is something the sports planner can not only address, but harness to their advantage.
The disorder, first named in the Australian Psychological Society’s fifth annual “Stress & Wellbeing Study,” identified those who used social media lightly (perhaps checking in once per day) and those who use it heavily, checking in five or more times per day, and often on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.)
A total of 78% of heavy users said they feel worried or uncomfortable if they could not access their social media accounts, compared to 44% of light users. In fact, 90% said they were afraid they would miss something if they did not stay connected, compared to 65% of light social media users.
It’s a no-brainer, of course, to say that full connectivity is the first part of keeping teen athletes happy and satisfied.
Of course, those athletes (for example, those in a high school wrestling tournament or a cheer and dance competition) are also going to love hashtags developed specifically for the competition. They are also going to be happy if event organizers make them feel important on social media. Ways of doing this include constant posts identifying who is on the floor, what classes are competing and updates on the competition standings. Don’t forget to put up photos since postings that are solely text-based are not going to create engagement. Remember that parents will also pick up and cross-post so publicize heavily the ability to use the event hashtag.
Why is it so important to keep athletes engaged? Because it’s not exactly a shocking fact that those who check in on social media more often are more likely to have FOMO. In fact, 70% of heavy users said they feel stressed out about how they look on social media, versus 47% of light users, and 69% said they feel “brain burnout” from constant connectivity, against 50% of light users. Another 64% of heavy users said they feel bad about themselves if no one comments on or “likes” their photos, versus 44% of light users.
Don’t forget the pre-event promotion either; create the event and use it to invite those athletes who love social media. A total of 71% of heavy users said they feel excluded when they see pictures of an event they weren’t invited to, compared to 52% for light users.