You may not know these words but a lot of you might be suffering from this. Social anxiety in real, physical world means excessive fear of social situations. One gets super nervous (anxiety) or self-conscious from fear of being closely watched and getting judged. But we are not talking about that. We are discussing social media anxiety where one feels constant urge to post and check updates on famous social apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even WhatsApp.
FOMO is Fear Of Missing Out, which means when one sees updates from friends they feel like they are missing something in life. Whether it’s exotic trip photos or costly sports bike, it can make you feel like you are missing out something in your life, unknowingly it forces you to compare yourself with them and you feel the need of perfection. Sometimes it can turn is something more severe called “Social Anhedonia” which means the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions.
Teens, as well as Tweens (not twins) of today’s generation, are most vulnerable to these kinds social media anxiety. If you ask about it, they themselves don’t know that they are falling prey for various forms of social media anxiety. Let’s see some real-life example to elaborate more.
100 Likes Club
When someone posts their selfie or some latest updates they don’t feel validated until they get at least a hundred likes. This happened mostly on Facebook and Instagram. More the likes are more the validated they feel. One with a higher number of likes, followings, fans, and online friends feels like a celebrity. But, unknowing they distant themselves from friends and family in real life as they get more recognition, appreciation in the online, digital world.
You may find some of your friends who are going through this. One who re-upload or frequently share their profile pic to get more likes. Or someone who add too much of hashtags on their Instagram pic. There are some people who get angry if someone sees their message in WhatsApp chat and don’t reply.
Sitcoms (Situation Comedy Shows)
FRIENDS, How I met your mother, The Big Bang Theory are some of the sitcoms which add up the social pressure on you. Same way Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley is also in trend. If all of your friends talking about the latest episode of show or troll about the show and you know nothing about it then you feel left behind. To match up with them one starts watching it. Some start enjoying the shows or some just pressurize themselves to watch and understand so that they stay relevant in the friend’s group.
Though social media can make you anxious it can also do good things to you. Let’s see some examples. Introverts may hardly speak to anyone on real-life social occasion but they might have a lot of friends on social media, which may bring some communication and interaction in their life. On the brighter side, this may help them to cross some of their real-life inhibitions.
Same way, you come across inspiring stories which affect you in positive ways. You are now more connected with the world. You are not interested in politics but still get around with news and current affairs due to memes, twitter trolls etc. Social media also encourage to be part of change e.g. signing up for online petitions for a cause etc.
Social media can work in both ways negative and positive. But there is a very thin line in between.
Tell us in comments what are your experiences and what you feel about Social Media Anxiety.