The iSocial butterfly

12th Apr 2013
The iSocial butterfly

More than 26 million Brits1(41%) are packing in two to four social arrangements per weeknight and two-thirds (59%) admit to leaving social events early for fear of missing out on something better according to new research* by, the UK’s largest online hotel, travel and leisure specialist. The research has uncovered a new type of ‘iSocial Butterfly’ behaviour amongst Brits as the use of social media and smart phone technology begins to influence the way we socialise and relate to others.

Almost half of all those surveyed (42%) admit that it is social media and smartphone technology that has enabled them to behave more spontaneously; with an ever-changeable social calendar available at the tap of a touch screen.  With this in mind, friends checking-in to ‘better options’ on Facebook seems to be influencing the average dwell time of 97 minutes at a party (to be polite) and the 59% of respondents who wouldn’t think twice about ditching one social event half-way through.

With a quarter of Brits (23%) now preferring to plan their entire social schedule using social media, with Facebook as their preferred platform, online technology seems to be making us more spontaneous in our arrangements.

TV’s favourite neuroscientist, Dr Jack Lewis comments, “The emergence of the Social Butterfly is a clear reflection of the impact of modern technology on brain areas involved in juggling pleasure prediction, social interactions and decision making. Typically we all hate to miss out on any potentially important event because we naturally want to maximise our pleasure. In addition, we feel guilty when we have to let people down; by saying no to friends and family. So now that smartphones and the internet encourage us to constantly interact with our social networks we can find ourselves inundated with so many social options it can become very difficult to choose between them. So we don’t - we just accept them all!”

The flight of the iSocial Butterfly
The new breed of iSocial Butterfly will stay at a party for up to 97mins to appear polite, before flying off to their next engagement due to fear of missing out. More often than not, they will even come up with a cheeky lie or two2 to escape a party at the last minute. When the iSocial Butterfly has taken flight, a quarter (23%) will steer clear of their Facebook and Twitter feeds for fear that they may have made the wrong decision in leaving a previous engagement early.


Mark Maddock, Managing Director of UK and Ireland says, “Businesses must respond to changes in customer behaviour as the new breed of ‘iSocial Butterfly’ wants to book evenings out NOW and getaways on the same day. This year* customers are making snap decisions about theatre visits with 69% more likely to book the same or next day. Our mobile traffic also suggests that bookings are being increasingly made on the move with an 80% YOY increase in visits to our restaurant page through smart phones. Spontaneous decisions are even extending into travel with an over 100% YOY increase in same day hotel room bookings. With Wifi now available at 120 London underground stations and with airlines beginning to offer this service, the desire for immediacy in our leisure decisions is only set to increase.”


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