According to a recent study, the majority of social media users would be happier without social networks. Because on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, users are strongly guided by their environment. The fear of missing out is omnipresent.
Many people use platforms like Instagram and TikTok not out of interest, but out of fear of missing out. That’s according to a collaborative study by the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, the University of Cologne and Bocconi University in Italy. As part of an online experiment, they investigated the motivation behind social media use.
Would we be happier without social media?
The study involved 1,000 students from the United States. In the first part of the experiment, they were asked how much money they would charge to deactivate their Instagram and TikTok accounts for four weeks while those around them continued to use the platforms.
The result: The students demanded an average of $59 to deactivate their TikTok account and $47 to deactivate their Instagram account. In the second part, they were again questioned about how much money they would demand if they and their entire university professor environment deactivated the networks for four weeks.
Social networks: how our environment influences us
According to the study, the pain limit is significantly lower. On average, the students would deactivate their TikTok account for 28 US dollars and their Instagram account for ten US dollars.
At the end of the experiment, the respondents were asked to indicate how much the two platforms are worth to them compared to other networks that no one in their environment uses, however. The result: students rated TikTok usage 33 percent higher and Instagram usage 24 percent higher.
According to the researchers, the majority of respondents also said they were generally happier without social media. However, TikTok and Instagram had managed to convey a feeling that users are excluded if they turn their backs on the platforms. That’s why hardly anyone would do so.