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Social Media Anxiety

Something I’m beginning to accept is that I’ve always had a lot of anxiety surrounding social media. It’s kind of always been around sharing photos it was worse when I was younger, but even now I still feel slightly anxious about changing my profile picture or posting photos even if it’s me with a group of friends. I remember when I first got Facebook and I started with a picture of something random rather than one of me. Then when I updated my profile picture to one of me I felt so scared, I changed it logged off and couldn’t stop worrying.  I remember feeling so scared to check if anyone had liked incase no one had and I’d end up feeling horrible about myself. I also remember comparing how many likes I got to others and feeling bad that I had less. At the time it was such a big deal to me.

I moved on from then and I really don’t care too much about likes but I still honestly hate changing my Facebook profile picture and put it off for as long as possible. I really don’t know why, I’m so scared of getting judged. I honestly don’t even talk to half the people I have on Facebook so why would I care? I think, one of the problems with social media is that often we equate a like to approval of others. A clear like on a screen is much clearer sometimes than the kind of social approval we get in real life. Which could be why it became such a big deal for me.

This is definitely one of the reasons I’ve never had Instagram, I actually wrote a post talking about some of the other reasons (Why I Don’t Instagram). I know that I wouldn’t like just solely putting out pictures, even though I do love the whole of aesthetic of Instagram and love looking a peoples feeds of beautiful photos.

toni-hukkanen-87089-unsplash

Social media is such a talked about topic, it’s something that I think is especially such a big deal for young people. I’ve noticed, as I’ve got older I do care less and less about social media. I really don’t compare myself to others as much as I maybe used too. I really want to kick the anxiety around sharing photos of myself too, I want to get to a point where I feel I can post anything I want without worrying.

It’s strange because I don’t feel this anxiety when blogging maybe it’s because I don’t know the people who read my blog in real life. I really don’t know, but if I can share this much about myself on my blog, I think I can share a few more photos of me online. Who knows maybe I’ll finally brave it and get Instagram at some point.

I think my final thought is that the best way to think about social media that it is for you and only you, it is a place to simply share and connect with others.

Photo Credits

William Iven on Unsplash

Toni Hukkanen on Unsplash

17 thoughts on “Social Media Anxiety”

  1. I really relate to this! I’ve always been nervous about changing profile pictures on fb and leave it for months, feeling embarrassed if I didn’t get many likes but weirdly I love instagram! I post lots on mine, albeit not selfies, but I see it as more for me and a way of keeping memories. You should get one if that’s what you want, plus you can control who follows you or just let anyone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I have been thinking about it, I do love looking at other peoples when my sister lets me on hers 😂 I’ll definitely think about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh god, this whole post is SO RELATABLE.
    “It’s strange because I don’t feel this anxiety when blogging maybe it’s because I don’t know the people who read my blog in real life.” – THIS! IS! SO! TRUE! I feel exactly the same way about blogging. I think blogging is more egocentric in a way, because you write about you and your experiences – and you really notice individuality through a blog. (with social media, you always see the same things 10 times or more) There’s no strict etiquette you have to follow with a blog (not really anyway) but social media is FULL of unspoken rules. My blog to me is just an extension of myself. Social media on the other hand is something I don’t really think of as “my own” if you get what I mean. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah that’s very true social media definitely have unspoken rules which make it more restricting. Over time I really want to forget about the rules and just use social media in what ever way I want to!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I never use my photo on any of my sites…..ever! I see this face more than enough everyday in the mirror, so I do not want to see it on my sites where I go to entertain myself. I use different avatars for each site as well so I don’t get bored.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely understand where you are coming from! I’ve gotten better about it, I love posting selfies and feeling good about myself, but comparing my likes to others always makes me want to delete them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have got better too but I get what you mean. It’s so easy to just fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others on social media!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Ella,
    As someone from an older generation this is fascinating – I’ve read about this sort of thing but it’s interesting to have you all ‘talking’ about it as your own experiences. (I’m also intrigued that blogging doesn’t count as social media – why not? – and that social media which I’ve always thought as as completely etiquette free, should have ‘rules’.)

    I’d really like to read another post exploring/explaining all this.

    This liking of photos – is it meant to indicate you’ve taken the photo well, that they like the content, that they like the look of you as a person or, if they know you, is it them saying ‘we think you’re great’ ?; and why do they have to repeat this (which surely you must know if they’re friends with you??) every time you change a picture?

    I read an article suggesting that this sort of anxiety comes about because the likes are not based on anything ‘real’ or intrinsically valuable that you’ve actually done but merely a photo of yourself. And that there’s a disconnect of the reality that, unless you’re an actual model or able to do something on the level of a Vogue shoot, then the photo is just going to be a snap of an ordinary person. And that there’s nothing wrong with that.

    It seems to me that what people actually asking for with these photos is the unconditional love and appreciation of a parent from complete strangers and that just ain’t going to happen. What you will get, though, from complete strangers is buy-in, then admiration, and possibly love, from something real YOU give THEM. Think your favourite pop star, your favourite writer, your favourite artist, even your favourite teacher.

    Basing what is essentially their self-esteem on a picture on social media is not only a cop-out for real effort but self defeating: the time you spend on doing this (and worrying about it!) for example, could be invested into your art work. Far more people are going to ‘like’ a really good self-portrait than a selfie, and far less people are capable of doing it. No one at Uni is going to remember that girl who did really good photos on FaceBook – but they will remember that girl who was amazing at art.

    For the record, your blog is interesting, thoughtul and entertaining; you have a good writing voice and a talent for drawing that would pay for developing further. These are the things to take pride in.

    There will always be people better than you at, or because of, anything. There will always be people worse too. The focus is to develop YOUR qualities/talents/abilities so that you can be the best YOU can be, not someone else.

    But whatever you do take it seriously. If social media photos really are that important to you then stop messing about. Get a makeover and hire a professional photographer and do the thing properly. (I think you’ll find the idea of going that far probably helps put the whole thing into perspective …)

    Seriously, though, the best of luck with dealing with this problem; I understand it’s pretty widespread among your generation. I’m glad you seem to be moving more towards a place where it’s not such a big deal anymore.

    Victoria

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Victoria,
      I think in a way blogging is like social media but it is slightly different because it is mainly people you don’t know reading your posts. Also the focus is on your content, whereas social media is almost like just a profile of you and your life.

      I’m not really sure why someone likes your photos, I think it is a mix of someone liking you and thinking you have taken a nice photo. My friends always like my photos it’s kind of like a unwritten rule that we like each other’s photos. That’s because we like each other so feel like we should like each other’s photos.

      It is strange because I don’t tend to seek approval, or for people to like me in real life, so I don’t know why I associate a like on a photo with this. Things have got a lot better though and I’m starting to care less. I think this problem was particularly bad when I was in secondary school.

      To be honest social media isn’t something I really care about and I sometimes think I could delete it and be fine about it. You’re right there is no point spending time worrying about things when I could be doing something more productive or creative with my time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Ella,

        Thank you for taking the time to explain all this; it’s helped a lot in understanding the way you-as-millennials look at the world and the problems you all face. I saw social media as a tool to communicate, I hadn’t put together the sense of personal investment it embodied, but now a lot of things I’ve read/heard about make sense.

        I think secondary school is the main period for peer unpleasantness anyway.

        I’m glad to hear about your confidence in real life; it would be interesting to puzzle out why this doesn’t follow over into social media. Could it be that’s it’s a less trustworthy medium?

        There was a slogan some decades back – which may also be a book title – called ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’.

        And the bonus is, of course, that you are a very creative person so it’s not like you need to fill a void in your life.

        Looking forward to seeing some more of your creative output soon.

        Victoria

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not sure why my confidence doesn’t apply to social media it might be because it feels impersonal but I really don’t know.

        Yeah exactly no point worrying about the small stuff. Thank you for commenting and sharing some of your insight.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Looking through your post again, another thought occurs to me. (Apologies for the length of the previous comment!)

    You wrote that ‘likes’ are clearer cut than social approval in real life situations. This was also mentioned in the article I read: that spending so much time in online relationships, particularly when younger, means that the current generation hasn’t developed the skills in reading or interpreting the necessary social cues for successful face-to-face interactions, which in turn has developed further anxiety. In order to avoid this people spend more time interacting online and the whole thing becomes a vicious circle.

    Interesting eh?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting. I can see how spending so much time just interacting online can effect a person’s social skills. It’s a lot easier to just type out a message than actually go up to someone and say hi. I’ve noticed that people who are shy in real life say lots of things they wouldn’t say to you in person when online.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And on that note …

        I was reading my first comment after I’d sent it and realised that my attempt at being bracingly supportive was in actual fact coming across as far too brusque and read as unsympathetic, which was the opposite of what I’d intended.

        In person there would have been vocal inflection and facial expression to avoid confusion.

        The difficulty is that nowadays ‘you’ is used to mean people in general or in the abstract as well as the person who is being addressed and I failed to make the distinction clear in my comment.

        In your grandmother’s generation people used ‘one’ for the first and ‘you’ for the second but it came to be considered pompous and fell out of favour.

        I think I need to get over my own social concerns with this and try to re-introduce it. It might save me more embarrassment than it would cause!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t read your first comment as unsympathetic at all. I understand what you mean though sometimes when you type a message it’s unclear on how it might be interpreted.

        Liked by 1 person

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