Social media stress

Social Media Stress

I’m sure you’ve all heard that social media can cause depression; it forces you to see everything that’s going right in people’s lives while your life might seem to be going wrong.

Then there’s cyber-bullying… I’m just glad social media was in its infancy during my middle school years.

And let’s not forget about social media on mobile devices. You know, the whole, “everyone’s on Facebook when they should be focusing on driving or crossing the street” thing. Have you seen the video of the woman jumping onto a train track to get her phone? She nearly dies, but at least she can tweet about it before she gets home.

In short, social media can be bad for your health.

So how’s it affecting mine? One word: stress.

Social media is no longer truly social. At least not for those of us out there seeking a career in media or marketing. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are increasingly becoming extensions of our resumes, so we better be putting good vibes out there. Don’t believe me? Check out this snippet from Careerealism:

According to the 2012 Global Hiring Survey from the global professional association, Career Directors International (CDI), when reviewing a candidate, 58% of hiring authorities search the Internet for information at least sometimes; only 14% never check it.

I’m not stressed about making interactions on my social media sites job appropriate. That’s not even something we worry about anymore; by now Millennials have this self branding thing down.

The thing that’s stressing me out is maintaining a strong presence. If you’re looking for a job in social media and don’t live on social media sites, you’re basically a walking contradiction.

Some of you may laugh at me and say, “Wow, how hard is it to write a tweet or snap a photo for Instagram a few times a day?” But putting your personal life out there for the world to see doesn’t come as naturally to some as it does to others.

I was the kid at the party who barely said anything. I would listen, observe and just wait for my moment. Then, when the timing was right, I would say something so perfectly witty that everyone would think I was cool even if I didn’t speak the rest of the night.

But it doesn’t work that way with social media. If you want a lot of followers, you better be saying a lot. And if you want a good job, you better have followers.

Now I understand that you don’t always have to post about your life; most posts are pictures of cats or interesting articles that people stumble upon. That’s cool, but I don’t want to spend my life on the Internet. At work I sit and stare at a screen all day. Then I come home just to do the same thing. It’s ridiculous.

Don’t you ever want to completely unplug yourself and just LIVE?!?

Well if you want a job, you can’t. Go on LinkedIn and ask for recommendations. Then read 20 thought-provoking articles and tweet about them. Now get on Instagram and upload those photos of yourself volunteering. Don’t forget about Pinterest! Create a portfolio board, and make sure you keep it up to date. Now scurry over to Facebook and create a post promoting your blog. Do the same thing on Google+. While you’re at it, don’t forget to read what other people and businesses are saying! And be sure to watch out for up-and-coming sites; you might have to create a new portfolio soon. Let’s hustle, people! Are you even trying to get hired?

Between keeping up with our social media sites, actually applying to jobs and, oh yes, working one or several jobs, how are we supposed to find time to do anything else? Every now and then I’d like the sun to shine on my face instead of the glow of a laptop. And maybe it’d be nice to have an actual social life instead of just a virtual one. Who’da thunk?

Is it really necessary to have 5-10 thriving social media profiles? I’m far more interested in helping a company promote itself than I am in promoting myself. Can’t hiring managers just look at our resumes and portfolios to see the work we’ve done rather than study our personal lives?

If you want to be a teacher, you don’t need to have kids. Doctors aren’t required to live with people who have medical conditions. Marine biologists don’t need to have pet dolphins (but if they could, why wouldn’t they?).

I know that social media can add great opportunities to a job search, but sometimes it’s just overwhelming. No wonder so many more kids have ADD these days. We have the world at our fingertips, but choosing one thing to focus on is downright impossible.

What do you think? Does social media ever stress you out?

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8 thoughts on “Social media stress

  1. I often wonder how 20somethings navigate the constant chit-chat of social media and think my 30something brain must be out of date or something. Perhaps, though, it’s really that my personality isn’t in synch with the phenomenon. So much of what you describe is being an introvert in an extraverted world (which I know you’ve written about before, so you’re well aware of this), and I really like your social media angle on this topic.

    Your point that people of various professions don’t need to live a certain lifestyle to get a job is particularly astute. What concerns me the most about the constant social media freneticism is that it leaves little, if any, time to step back and introspect and consider what life is in the whole rather than as a simple compilation of trivial minutes that have been documented online. As we know, that process is what supports identity development, and there is no better way to have a job that is personally meaningful than to know who you are before you’re job searching.

    All in all, nice job, Lauren. Now I’ll go tweet this….!

    • I love your analytical mind! It makes me want to circle up for a class discussion.

      I like your observation on personality differences. While activeness on social media is partially generational, I agree that certain personality types will have thriving profiles while others will have a closer circle of friends/followers. I hadn’t thought much about this before, but it really makes a lot of sense. During conversations, I tend to be soft-spoken in most situations because I’d rather err on the side of being too quiet than being obnoxious. I didn’t make this connection before, but I’m the same way with social media. I don’t want to be all up in people’s newsfeeds and have them thinking, “Oh, this girl again.” Extroverts don’t have the same filter.

      And another good observation on knowing ourselves. You’re right; on social media, we’re always putting on an act. This is especially true now that personal branding has become so important. We may think we’re being genuine, but we’re really only displaying our best selves. I never thought about this endangering self growth, but I think you bring up a good point.

      Thank you so much for the thought-provoking comment!

  2. All the time. I keep hearing about how I need to keep tabs on my fb to make sure there’s nothing that would may a potential employer turn me down, so I actually went and removed my sexual orientation just to make sure no one discriminates against me. Plus, with this blog I hope to be able to make a little extra cash some day, but I just don’t have the time or the want to sit here everyday trying to gain followers.I mean I love blogging, but I also like to, you know, go outside. I went to a leadership conference on my campus last year and one seminar was all about how to successfully turn yourself into “a brand.” I was kind of disgusted by that one.

    • I hear ya. I guess accomplishing anything through social media requires a little sacrifice. Like anything else that you need to work for, you’ll get more out of it if you put more into it. You just have to decide how important it is.

      Personal branding has its perks, but I also think it’s kind of gross. But it’s become the norm, which I have mixed feelings about. I can’t imagine how tough it would be to potentially be discriminated against for part of who you are. That adds an entire new level of censorship to this whole self branding thing..

  3. I relate so much to this post. I’ve had and still have a love-hate relationship with social media ever since the days of myspace. Facebook was the first, and for a long time, the only one I gave my soul up to. I’ve literally posted tens of thousands of pictures since 2007, capturing every single moment of my college years (yikes). I wasn’t applying for jobs at the time, and perhaps it was my way of being extroverted on the internet — posting pics to tag all of my friends in. Only until recently did I stop posting albums of all the pictures I take. I gave up facebook for lent this year, so for forty days, I didn’t post anything. I found that with my family and friends posting pictures of me and posting on my wall, my life was still being documented for me even without me logging on! Twitter, I’ve used on and off over the years but have really come to appreciate the power of tweeting after creating my blogs this past year. The hashtags create a whole new ball game because you can reach people beyond your followers. I honestly can’t speak from a professional standpoint because I’ve never applied to a marketing position that has relied on my social media footprint, but I think social media doesn’t have to stressful if you have fun with it. Allow it to just be a small part of your life, as opposed to a reflection of your entire life. Also, I’m curious, since you’re a blogger too, do you find that you don’t need to try as hard to post things on your social media outlets? I’ve learned that blogging inherently causes us to research and read through fellow bloggers’ posts, so technically a few times throughout the day, we can just post links to our blogs or links/quotes from other blogs that we come across and call it a day.

    • Oh, man. I know; social media becomes an addiction, which is another reason why I find myself wanting to power down. It’d be refreshing, like a self cleanse. I do agree with you on the whole blogging thing. It does make it easier for me to engage in social media. That’s why I enjoy posting for an actual company; they already have a brand. I know their voice and what types of posts interest their customers. And I actually have something to sell.

      It’s hard to navigate self branding because first you need to figure out which parts of yourself to advertise. We act differently around friends, parents, employers… it’s hard to mash yourself into one person for who’s acceptable for everyone.

      I agree that we shouldn’t let social media take over our entire lives. I get stressed because right now it’s not a big enough part of my life. I know I need to carve out some time to do more with it. Bah! #millennialproblems

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