Balance, Wellness

Inspired Living: On Overcoming Social Media Anxiety

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On Overcoming Social Media Anxiety | Peaceful Dumpling

Here’s something that I’m really loath to admit, considering my job and all. I suffer from social media anxiety. Not across all platforms and not, like, life-threateningly so. I’ve found my happy place with Twitter and Google +, and even Pinterest (so pretty!). But I absolutely detest Facebook–although, if you’re reading this with your all-seeing eyes, oh Almighty Facebook, please don’t penalize me!!

Why I hate Facebook has (almost) nothing to do with the fact that when PD was just a wee blog with a single writer (me), they for some reason blocked our account and we lost all our first 122 fans or something and we had to start from scratch. It has to do with the fact that I never know what to post on my personal Facebook, and then when I do dare say something, I feel disappointed at the number of Likes I get. I also feel envious of other people who just “get” Facebook. Some people will just post random rambling things about their day and get dozens of likes and comments. These people are just natural at this game. I post personal stuff maybe once every quarter to show some sign of life (I have friends! I went places!) and then get enthusiastic love from about five people who I know will always love me no matter what. And then when one of them, my best friend (who is herself a master player at the FB game), cancels her account to cool off from social media, all those likes and comments disappear and I look like I was just talking to myself.

So on a Sunday morning, I scrolled down my Newsfeed to see what other people post and to learn from their example.

Just ordered a “tall grande” at Starbucks. The day is mine! (A guy I took some classes with)

[Too cute. Click on “Like.” Must learn to say quirky, short, affirmative status updates.]

I am so honored to be the keynote speaker today at University of Virginia’s Graduate at UVA Darden School of Business. The students are so inspiring! #‎lifechangingmoments‬ (A girl from my year; has her own business)

[Impressive but emulating is not a viable option at present. No one is asking me to speak at their B-school. Meh. Click on “Like.”]

Photo of a recent wedding of an art history friend whom I haven’t seen since graduation. No not even at Reunions. And she lives in New York.

[Sad that we lost touch since college. We weren’t in the same group of friends, but still took some classes together and had some great memories…conspiratorial whispers about thesis, professors, boys we like…Feel like a horrible person who doesn’t invest time and effort in maintaining friendships. Click on “Like.”]

After seeing these examples I thought about what I’d post–but anything I felt with any sort of urgency to share came across as slightly off. Here’s what I came up with:

Another annoying Definitions Gym commercial on Pandora: “I’m not a trainer, I’m a hedge fund manager. I don’t live to train, I train to live. Magnificently. Farther. Higher. Harder.” Eww douchebag!! If you fit this description I find you incredibly obnoxious. 

[Not everyone will have heard this commercial and so they might think I’m just anti-hedge fund managers or anti-fit people. Might rub people the wrong way instead of making them laugh. Also might sound hypocritical given my posting fitness photos all the time.]

Was just reading Art and Archaeology newsletter and found out my favorite professor is retiring!! So sad 🙁

[Can think of no one else who was so fond of Prof. B. Might elicit some sentiment from best friend, who is equally given to collegiate nostalgia. To others, will sound nerdy / somewhat elitist. Abort, abort!]

I took a deep breath and closed my laptop. There’s nothing quite like Facebook to make a confident, generally well-adjusted 27-year-old to feel like a socially inept preteen again. I make comparisons, feel sad because everyone else is having so much more fun and games than I am. I don’t even remember when I last took pictures with girl friends on a night out–you know, that photo that you take when you’re all dolled up, elbows out, legs crossed, flirty smile. Of course I still want people to think I’m cool. But the truth is, I’m bad at condensing the best parts of my life into 140 characters or a jubilant status update or one filtered photograph. I prefer to make observations and inferences at 700 words or more–in the digital age, that’s practically a novel, but coincidentally that’s how I find materials for Peaceful Dumpling. I save the good stuff, the parts that I find relevant or inspiring, for PD and especially for the newsletter.

But then the most delicious parts, my best memories and reveries, I save for my friends, my journal, or just thinking and feeling inside myself. There is something so satisfying about having these essential parts all to myself, the highest highs and lowest lows, and to only share them with the few people I truly trust. My real life is much more interesting, has more depth, pain, love, and passion, than the one that I project into the internet ether. And I’d like to keep it that way. Maybe that sounds incredibly anti-social and even selfish in this day and age. But it makes me feel real, and happy.

Do you guys ever feel social media anxiety? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

Also see: How to Break Free from Negative Patterns

5 Tips to Overcome Anxiety Attacks

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Photo: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos via Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

Juhea Kim
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Juhea now lives in NYC with her Oreo cookie cat, Zeus. When she is not writing, she enjoys running in Central Park, yoga, and teaching Barre classes. Follow Juhea on Instagram @peacefuldumpling, Google+ and Pinterest.
  • cyndirk

    I’m absolutely terrible on Facebook. I only joined 3 years ago, but I deactivate every few months only to repeat the process a few months later. I feel that many people create a social media persona different from their “normal” one. I have the neither the ability nor the inclination to do so. I muddle about until I can stand it no more, and then leave.

    • Juhea Kim

      🙂 “muddling about” sounds familiar. I’m encouraged that I’m not the only one who feels Facebook-dumb–thanks for sharing!

      • cyndirk

        It is kind of fascinating, Juhea. I thought it might be an age thing or an introvert/extrovert thing, but doesn’t seem to be either. Surely there are such professionals as “Social Media Analysts” who have a clue about this phenomenon. Thank you for your essay. Now, at least two of us have come out as Facebook-dumb.

        • Juhea Kim

          hehe definitely not generational or even intro/extrovert thing. 🙂 hope more people come out and join our club.

  • Kimberley

    A million times yes to all of this! I have been working on a piece about comparison that relates to how pervasive social media can be to diminishing our sense of self. I find the need to take frequent social media breaks, for sure!

    • Juhea Kim

      I know, taking breaks is crucial. I also find it helpful not to try to do all the social media out there and just focus on the ones I enjoy. I drew the line at Instagram. 🙂

  • Z Zoccolante

    I loved this article and found myself laughing out loud “and then get enthusiastic love from about five people who I know will always love me no matter what.” and “and I look like I was just talking to myself.” I’m guilty of watching the funny animal video rather than reading that meaningful article, but I did curb the desire to glean my self-worth from likes received. As long as I’m doing what I love, I’ll eventually get there. Plus, I do have about five people who adore me and I tell myself I’m awesome daily simply because I’m me. haha. 🙂

    • Juhea Kim

      😀 I always hope that there is someone out there who laughs at my little jokes. I’m glad you have your circle of trust & love. I don’t know what I’d do without mine!

  • So well written Juhea!! I too steer clear of most social media because of its ability to detract from what’s real and true in life. What no one ever posts is the long line they waited on to get into the restaurant/club/concert or how their dress was ruined from spilling a drink or how they had a fight with a friend right after. When you recognize the picture or post isn’t the whole story and just what they want you to know it makes it easier to take it less seriously. I personally think if you’re comfortable and confident in your own skin you don’t need the validation of 27738 “friends” online and can be happy with your life and choices for you and no one else.

    • Juhea Kim

      you’re so right. “happy with your life and choices for you and no one else”–that seems to be the over arching theme for me for the past few years, not just in social media but about life in general. 🙂

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