COM 584 PR Campaigns

Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.

FOMO or Instant Gratification?

This chapter talks about various practical ways to achieve content ignition. Most of the tips and tricks I had been familiarized with, but I took an interest towards one idea and the psychology behind it all. Tip 19 refers to tapping into people’s “FOMO”, our fear of missing out. Specifically, it encourages users to post negative content such as 10 things to avoid during an interview as opposed to positive content like 5 ways to get your dream internship. The concept is tied to our societies fear of missing out on social events and trends, thus sparking our interest to see if we are missing out on something we should stop doing.

The reverse psychology used in this tactic caught my attention and had me wondering if it was really FOMO that made “negative” driven content more successful, or perhaps it was something else. The Washington Post reports that FOMO is most common among the under-30 crowd and occurs when someone has anxiety about not attending social events, and thus missing out. It even went on to explain that social media actually helps people with FOMO because it allows them to develop socially. For whatever reason, something told me FOMO wasn’t the connection between content ignition and “negative” toned articles.

Growing up my dad always told me that I was obsessed with instant gratification. In fact I’m sure many of our parents can agree that as kids when we wanted something, we wanted it right away. Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. In essence, those who need instant gratification often look for the quickest, shortest way to get exactly what they want.


Take this idea into browsing content on the web. If I was given the option between two articles, the first a lengthy step by step article that illustrates the 10 health conscious foods to add to your diet and the second a short list of 10 treats to cut out of your diet immediately.. do you know which I’d chose? The  “negative” article that talks about cutting out things because it takes less work from me and will give me instantly gratifying results. Instead of spending hours shopping, prepping, and cooking these health foods to add to my diet, I’d much rather cut out 10 bad things and move on with my time.

I think the same can be said about achieving content ignition by using “negative” based articles. Rather than tell people what they need to go out and take action over, give them a short list of things to avoid and they’ll be more inclined to listen. Instant gratification.

Research obtained from:

The Content Code by Mark W. Schaefer

Image obtained from:



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This entry was posted on February 16, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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