Pew Internet & American Life Project’s survey on “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives” reports that users of social networking sites say “they felt they were supported emotionally.”
With the average Facebook user having 229 friends, most users have found that it is a useful communication channel for reviving dormant relationships and creating support networks that Pew found to be “almost equivalent to that received from a spouse or cohabiting partner” i.e. your husband, wife, live-in girlfriend or boyfriend.
Are you married to your Facebook?
Do you surf your phone for posts to comment on, and frequently subscribe to SMS updates? Disappointed when there aren’t any new text indicators that someone commented on your photo or latest status update?
Social networks can cause people to become anxious and pressured to update and change, feelings similar to that of a person-to-person relationship or a date with someone new. They raise stress levels due to feelings of “expectation” and scrutiny. Feelings usually experienced during the rare office presentation or stage performance.
Almost a decade ago, the only thing that could cause such a cocktail of stressing feelings was a date with that gorgeous co-worker from the office that you’ve secretly been praying to ask you out for almost a year!
Now, social media has become one of the first means of support and stress in our daily lives. How do you combat something that is on your computer, in your cell phone, and now even accessible via your television?
Step Back and Plug Yourself Out
You must deliberately force yourself to put aside mobile media and wind down. Participate in actual conversations instead of virtual ones. Pursue a hobby like jogging or crafts to take your mind off timelines and Likes. Personal interactions with friends, can help maintain relationships and cause a lot less miscommunication than your random status updates.