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Why Being Cool Online Can Cause Anxiety In Real Life
In today’s world, people are sharing and liking or loving posts on the daily. Walk down a busy street or stop at a tourist attraction, you’ll find plenty of people snapping photos on their phones and then sharing them online. It’s become a standard part of everyday life. The need to share and receive likes can almost become addicting at times, but unfortunately, you can’t do that in the “real world.” People can have dual personalities—the cool online persona and the person who struggles with anxiety away from the digital world.
Creating An Online Persona
It’s easy enough to hide behind a screen or phone using only a handle or your first name. Online, you can interact with hundreds of people, if not thousands. It’s easy enough to find communities and like-minded individuals who share the same interests as you. You can seamlessly fit in. There’s no awkward introduction online, and the need for communication is minimal.
Being online gives the shyest of people the time they need to come out of their shell; they have much more time to think about the content they are going to put out, as opposed to the time they have in real life.
“The persona online may be much more fabulous, much more exciting than the everyday life that they’re leading,” Julie Albright, a digital sociologist at University of Southern California told phys.org, “because they see everybody else doing it.”
Creating an online persona isn’t always a negative thing, it can actually increase a person’s self-esteem.
No One’s Going To Tap You For A Heart In Real Life
Away from your handle or profile, people often struggle to keep up with the online persona they’ve created for themselves. This can be anxiety-inducing, even for the biggest social butterflies you know. Unfortunately, there is no screen to hide behind when it comes to face to face interaction.
In a world where sharing photos and snippets of witty captions earns you a thumbs up or a heart, no one can do that for you in real life. How can you hide those terrible angles, or make small talk that isn’t 280 characters or less or use an emoji instead of a word? Having a full blown conversation with someone? That can be mentally exhausting and stress inducing.
Why’s No One Liking My Posts?
Have you ever taken time to create a post or tweet that has completely flopped? You normally average a ton of interaction and likes, retweets or hearts – but for some reason, you’re not getting any love on your post? Has this caused you to delete the post, rework it or become anxious about its results?
Sometimes you’ve told a joke or story online, and people loved it, but when you tried to tell it to people in person, it fell flat.
Social media isn’t necessarily about being social; it’s about performance. People want to be liked and loved, and when that isn’t fulfilled by interaction, it can cause anxiety or depression.
Get The Best Of Both Worlds
Put down the phone or get off the computer. Only go online for thirty minutes or so. If you’re talking to someone, tell them that you want them to take a mental break. Do some deep breathing or go focus on something that is healthier and positive.
Come to terms with the fact that you don’t need to be the same person that you are online; it’s only a portion of you. If you struggle to keep a conversation in person, don’t stress, keep practicing by talking to people. No one is judging you; no one can see how many likes you do or don’t have in person.