The iSocial Butterfly Effect: Why Going Out Decisions Are Getting More Last Minute


“I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumours to my dogs.”
― Andy Warhol

It’s fair to say that smartphone technology has revolutionised the way we socialise. Where once-upon-a-time you would be stuck at a complete non-event, now by just looking at your Facebook and Twitter feeds, you have instant access to your friends (generally more exciting) social lives and alternative last minute late night options can present themselves. There used to be nothing worse than sitting forlornly listening to your friends gossip about a spectacular night out, interspersed with the phrase….”well of course you had to be there”…and it is this fear of “missing out” that is spurring on the new iSocial Butterfly effect.

using a phone

“When you’re the most happening person at the party; it’s time to leave” – Author Kelly Cutrone

Spontaneous socialising

This concept has been backed up by new research by, which has revealed that more than 26 million Brits are packing in two to four social arrangements in per weeknight. An even bigger trend is that 59% of the 1,000 people polled , admitted (somewhat guiltily you feel) to escaping an event early for fear of missing out on something better! Rather than the old-fashioned carefully crafted little black book of contacts, now everyone using social media and smart phone technology, has at their fingertips a wealth of information on what’s happening, who’s hot, and crucially, what’s not.

Crowd with phones

iSocial influences

What the impact will be on our previous social etiquette rules remains to be seen. I even bought a watch because I became aware of how constantly checking the time on my phone, looked not only rude, but also like I would rather be somewhere else with someone else (rather than the real reason, which was usually, have I got time for another drink before my last train goes?). There is however something wonderfully spontaneous about having an ever-changeable social calender, the fun-factor available 24/7, with just the tap of a touch screen. While 59% of survey respondents  wouldn’t think twice about ditching one social event half-way through for a better offer; I guess the key thing is whether you then choose to broadcast your stealth move, by checking into another location on Facebook or by tweeting about the DJs set at a gig you left your mate’s party for.

Think cloud

Facebook leads the flight

Facebook has become the preferred platform for making spontaneous arrangements, with a quarter of Brits (23%) now preferring to plan their entire social schedule using social media. Whether it is when you are sat at work and spot a post with a picture of a friend enjoying an incredible holiday (they got for peanuts at the last minute naturally), inspires you to go and book something yourself (to ensure you also have bragging rights) or the realisation that your mates are at a secret gig, just minutes away from where you are currently socialising spurs you to change your plans. This miss it, miss out, mood has really being taken to a new level by modern technology.


“The emergence of the iSocial Butterfly is a clear reflection of a number of human traits; a fear of missing out, guilt associated with saying no to your friends and family and a deep, selfish human desire to spend our time doing what we want. Our changing attitude to planning our social lives can also be linked back to our sense of adventures and wanting to act spontaneously to add to the excitement.” – TV neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis

The survey has certainly struck a chord with partygoers in the capital and even featured in The Metro; who produced this handy infographic highlighting some of the key results :  see below.

social butterflies

Are you becoming more spontaneous?

So has this iSocial Butterfly survey got you in a flutter and ready to unleash plans that have previously been mothballed; or has it inspired you to spread your social wings more. Let us know if you think modern technology has allowed us to become more sponataneous as a result, by leaving a comment below.




About Author

Kirsten is the chief blogger here at A former newspaper journalist (don’t hold that against her), having taken extensive trips to China, America and Australasia, she is now pouring her passion for travel into writing blogs and features for the website. Arriving in London via exotic Scunthorpe, Kirsten has made it her mission to try out as many pubs and restaurants as she possibly can in the capital.

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