How does social media make YOU feel?

cat on computer

Social media — so delicious! Image courtesy of Wanessa Jansen, Morguefile.

Every so often, I’ll come across an online article that mentions the mental effects of social media. One story noted that social media isn’t always a true picture of our entire selves, good and bad, but a depiction of how we wish the world to perceive us. Other articles observed that social media causes feelings of depression (especially when you compare yourselves against others on the same social media platform), stress (cyber-bullying) or irritation (when the same individual talks about the same issue, over and over and over and over…..*yawns*……).

At the same time, social media is a tremendous force for positive emotions. It’s great for laughter (cute laughing baby videos, anybody?) and sharing special lifetime moments. I sent birthday messages to a friend yesterday on Facebook and congratulated another friend on his engagement. There’s also the entertainment provided by my sassy cousins on Facebook, who create some hilarious and/or beautiful selfies.

I experience a gamut of emotions through my own use of social media. Sometimes there’s a mild envy when I see pictures of an amazing foreign place and I wish I could be there myself. Other times, there’s outright disgust (“Seriously? They put that online?” and disbelief (mostly at people dumb enough to brag about their misdeeds online). Social media feels overwhelming at times; the sheer volume of information is more than any one person can process.

In other cases, the social media’s been engineered to make viewers like me smile, laugh or even feel like dancing, and I respond accordingly. Social media, for me, helps me further my education, lightens my mood when I’m stressed, provides me with a quick peep at another’s culture or life experience, or wows me with the sights and sounds of something amazing. (Twisted Sifter, talking to you here, with your incredible images and videos.)

It’s so entertaining. Yesterday, I bantered with blogger Marilyn Armstrong about the stranger things people eat, including salted peanuts poured into Coca-Cola (it’s a Southern thing, y’all). Today, it was a Twitter #bookbloggers chat hosted by my Irish buddy Liam O’Dell; we talked about physical damages to books and golden Oreos.

There’s also the fun of developing cyber-friendships with other people within social media platforms. By now, I’ve been blogging long enough to have developed fun online friendships with other bloggers and Twitter users, which is vastly entertaining.

What does social media (blogging included!) do for you? How does it make you feel?

 

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49 Comments

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49 responses to “How does social media make YOU feel?

  1. Blogging is an outlet for all those creative snippets I concoct while on walks when the mind and body are relaxed and working all at the same time. It’s a way to see the world without having to get a TSA patdown. It’s a means of establishing rapport in anonymity. Yes, it has it’s downsides (do I really care which celebrity has the best bikini body) but has many positives (talking about TED talks here). Controlling it instead of it controlling you is the key.

  2. Seems like people get into social media for different reasons – it can be much more entertaining than boring people around you at a moment, you can learn how to do stuff, get glimpses of life in other places – and a reminder that people have so much in common. Lots of good things but it can get ugly if people want to get mean – or if readers take what others say too seriously. It really is the school playground all over again.

  3. It frustrates me to the core, in particular Facebook, which I use to connect with people I want to avoid in real life!

  4. Social media makes me feel good most of the time, sure there are occasional irritations, annoyances and frustrations, but there are in most things! I’m a bit of an introvert in real life and not particularly good in social situations, and yet with social media I feel perfectly confident expressing myself and interacting with people, and I know I’m not alone in that aspect. I don’t feel like I’m putting on a different front or anything, not deliberately anyway, but I guess I’m just more relaxed with the communication online, so maybe the online me is more me than the real me! Oh dear…

  5. Servetus

    I don’t think I can isolate one feeling. The social media I use are different, used for different purposes (twitter vs tumblr vs blogging vs facebook vs pinterest) and have different effects on me.

  6. You’re right! Social media makes me feel all of the above. Nice summation. Of course I liked your post.

  7. It is interesting how often I feel inadequate when skulking around FB and Twitter. i see all these amazing posts from all of these amazing people and feel that I should be posting fantastic insightful; stuff too, but I am not :-(.
    And then I will comment on something of share something and the conversation takes off and everyone has a great time, or agrees or agrees to disagree and the whole thing was good – but really what was the point? Has the world changed because we talked? Well maybe mine did, and thanks for that.

    • Maybe the whole world didn’t change, but maybe you also got someone else to see a new point of view in addition to your own world changing. It’s healthy to have personal views challenged at times; that way, people learn.

  8. I love the way Facebook helps me stay in touch–as a hopelessly lazy friend, I would have lost contact with any number of acquaintances without Facebook. On the flipside, I hate the time I waste scrolling through my newsfeed looking for interesting posts. Blogging makes me happy–endless supply of things to read! So my conclusion would be that social media is generally helpful to me, but only when I control it.

  9. Bored. Incredibly bored. And sad that I live in a culture that is so shallow, immature, unable to entertain meaningful thought. And worse, losing the ability to communicate in person, and sustain relationships. The short attention span of young people, and the distraction of smart phones, etc. is disturbing to me. Here in China, internet addiction is classified as a mental health disorder. It’s a huge problem. And I really think social media is just a new form of advertising and PR. It’s strange to me that people actually think it is about anything else, or that there is really anything social about it.

  10. Social media’s a tough one, because it really depends on the site and the content. I mean, WordPress is basically my favourite site, because I’m surrounded by like-minded, supportive people who are just a genuine pleasure to interact with (feel buttered up yet? :D). Whereas on Facebook you’ve got people posting depressing/disgusting stuff, sometimes you’ll have one of your comments taken the wrong way and spark an argument, etc. So … on the whole I like social media, but dang is it exhausting sometimes.

  11. Good question! Most of my social media interactions are limited to Facebook and blogging. Generally, I feel more connected through social media, although there are times I experience the negative feelings you mentioned: irritation, envy, and even boredom. To be fair, though, I feel all of these same things with in-person interactions, so it might have more to do with human interactions more generally than anything specific to social media.

  12. Blogging isn’t social media to me. It’s a place, a way to be creative. A way to write and actually know people read it. Post pictures and know people look at them. It isn’t an online diary. Maybe it is for some people but I don’t think it is for most.

  13. Peanuts in coca-cola WHAT!? 😮

    I love social media – it allows me to have some wonderful virtual relationships with fellow bloggers who I wouldn’t get to meet in the real world.

    As Oscar Wilde said, everything in moderation, even moderation.

    I spend a lot of time online but I also go out too. I think a mixture of both is important. It only becomes a problem, an addiction even, if you let it.

    The fact that I can make a big deal of going a whole weekend without it, probably gives you some indication of my love for it. 😉

  14. I have a love-hate relationship with social media. On one hand, I love that it keeps me connected to the outside world, especially since I’m a freelancer and spend most of my days at home. On the other, that very same connection sometimes frustrates me, especially when I see people up and about doing all sorts of amazing things.

  15. Control and balance are the key, no question. It can be a draining, tiring experience sometimes logging into, as I do, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Indiblogger, WordPress for my own output, then spend time reading and commenting. It does eat up a lot of time.

    On the other hand, I’ve learned things I would never have otherwise. I did not know that some of the kids I was at school with had skills beyond the school. Some are accomplished professional musicians, published authors, artists etc.

    I also get my first hint of news from social media. I then have to go check the news sites – because I don’t fully trust Facebook (or the people on it) to tell us the news without bias.

    • Twitter for news is good, too. If I notice that something is trending on Twitter, I start wondering why and then I’ll find out from CNN’s Twitter or somebody similar.

      Facebook has given me some insights about the people I’m friends with. Some of them have a really great sense of humor.

  16. Also, I do see my blog as a creative pursuit first and a social platform second. I have met many people via blogging that I would not otherwise have met. I also get some feedback on my personal goal of being a better writer. (I wish I had more.. 😦 )

  17. For me, social media is for mainly professional use. I share my articles and blog posts here, making connections and networking with people with similar interests. It is easy to get sucked into the networks though and lose track of time!

  18. I hate the psycho babble BS tossed out in various places about the downside of social media. Psychologists are still arguing about whether violence in games, films, etc., has an effect on children’s behavior. My bet is solid research shows little effect on most people..either negatively or positively.

    Social media provides many people (seniors, handicapped) who would otherwise be excluded from interconnectedness with others, a way to stay connected. True in my case it has replaced the letter writing I once did, but I am able to keep up with my grandchildren in ways never imagined by my grandparents. The downside…my sister who once wrote long letters now calls occasionally but otherwise is immersed in electronic games on Facebook.

  19. First of all, I’ve finally arrived upstairs at my desk to find out who you are since I rarely go digging on my iPhone. Hello again! Since I have a serious issue with “belonging” ever since I was a child, social media helps to mend that little problem for me. I’m no longer writing for a newspaper, but I can stay connected to old friends and family on this mountain in the Blue Ridge. Still getting Twitter saavy and love when someone I admire (author, journalist?) favorites a tweet, makes my day in fact. Meeting other bloggers virtually and sometimes in person (KERF’s Mom) is another perk! Validation, to make something of this time on earth

  20. When I roam from writers, hikers, women’s sites, visit different countries, I read, then I feel less than at times.
    Often it motivates, sometimes it doesn’t.

  21. I love social media. FB makes me crazy, though, or perhaps I just need better friends. Twitter is my favorite b/c I learn so much. Instagram has become a favorite pastime. Pinterest? No new friends nor much learned except that the recipes posted there are usually horrible.

    • I have mixed feelings about Facebook. I’ve learned more about the personal preferences of family and friends, and I’ve been able to keep up with those who live in other towns that I may not see on a regular basis.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more variety in what people post.

      I’m loving Twitter too. I participate in tweetchats and learn a great deal from others.

      I’m fascinated by Pinterest’s possibilities. Interesting to hear that the recipes you’ve tried were not that good — I’ll bear that in mind when I want to try a new recipe.

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