Is Social Media Anxiety Real?

By on March 27, 2014
Social Media Anxiety


I remember when I first joined Facebook after graduating high school in 2005.

Barely a year old, Facebook still required you to have a .edu email address as it was only open to college students. Many of us had a MySpace, LiveJournal, or a Xanga account back then, but the majority of us were thrilled to test out this new platform to connect with our high school friends as we ventured off to the real world.

At that time, what we now call “social networking” did not exist to the extent that it does today.

The first iPhone wouldn’t be released until a couple of years later and mobile internet usage was extremely limited, but with the advances in technology that came side-by-side with the smartphone revolution – so came the explosion of social media usage.

For most users, social media is used as a way for you to connect with friends, family, and like-minded individuals in order to keep in touch.

Yet, studies are suggesting that we are now becoming a society consumed by social media (rather than a society who consumes social media) and, oddly enough, this connection to others is coming at a cost.

Is Social Media Anxiety Real?

With social media networks aging (Twitter just turned 8!), researchers are acquiring more and more data on how social media usage is effecting (or is it infecting?) our lives.

In this interview on FoxNews.com, mental health consultant Stefanie Weiss revealed that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are stressing teens out and causing anxiety for a number of reasons.

And, apparently, this “social media anxiety” isn’t an emotional affliction exclusive to teenagers and kids. Another scientific study discovered that one out of every three people in their sample felt worse after visiting Facebook – leaving the site with feelings of “envy, misery and loneliness.”

So what causes these feelings… and how do we tiptoe the fine line between healthy and unhealthy usage?

The most common cause seems to be comparing oneself socially to their peers when monitoring these channels. However, by now we should all know that what is posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter doesn’t reveal everything about one’s life: We generally only post the positive events and images that reflect how we want to be portrayed on social media – our “online persona” per say.

Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media AgeIn Alice E. Marwick’s book, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age, she suggests that “Metrics, like follower count or number of ‘likes’ on a photo, facilitate this process by rendering social status into something that can be quantified, qualified, and publicized.”

So, whether or not our online personas accurately reflect our internal beings, we should be able to come up with some necessary steps so that social media continues to help society progress rather than regress:

  • Let’s pledge not to eat and Tweet at the same time.
  • Let’s pledge not to post 10 memes a day on Facebook.
  • Let’s pledge not to Instagram our breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

In all seriousness though, Social Media Anxiety is real and we have all probably experienced it at some point.

At the end of the day though, it’s just a tool – and not all tools are needed at all times.

I hope you enjoyed this post and would love to hear your comments on this subject. Do you think Social Media Anxiety is real? If so, what can someone do to prevent it?

About David Ahn

David entered the business world as a marketing intern at NanoLumens – an Atlanta tech startup that provides unique digital LED signage. While interning for the company, he found a particular interest in content marketing, social media, and visual branding. After completing the internship, he began his professional career with iFusion Marketing working with Atlanta tech startups. In 2013, he joined SMMU as a blogger, copywriter, and social media manager. Connect with him on Twitter @Dav1dAhn.
  • http://www.juntaedelane.com/ Juntae DeLane

    Hi David. This provides a good detailed analysis on social anxiety. Here’s a great article about ways to over come social anxiety: http://juntaedelane.com/suffering-social-media-anxiety/

    • http://wwww.socialmediaimpact.com/ Social Media Impact

      Thanks for reading and sharing your post @jkdelane:disqus, it’s definitely a good idea to have the customer always in the forefront of your social media purposes!

  • http://www.michaelgregoryii.com/ Michael Gregory II

    Great choice of words! One of the hardest problems anyone can deal with is anxiety whether it’s with socializing or something else. If you’re wondering about some self development books for anxiety and what can help, check out: http://www.michaelgregoryii.com/2015/07/best-self-development-books-for-anxiety/

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