Social Media and Anxiety

By addinaf - 3:02:00 AM

I have a lot of social media accounts and all of them are pretty active and have shared a lot of things. I interact with people a lot, I check them all (almost) every day, and mostly I use my real name on purpose, so people can find me easily.

However, deep down, I have a lot of things that I don't feel comfortable to share it on my social media(s). Started from as simple as grammar, language, and simple things that I supposed to not worry about. I become more anxious to share something that is too personal or involve my opinion that is not 'common' or not so acceptable, I'm afraid that what I shared could become a dangerous weapon for my self in the future. I'm pretty sure that I always curated what I share, I shared a lot, but I also think about people who will see this post/status/photo/story. It's funny because I'm not even famous, but I have this kind of anxiety.

Nowadays, social media is such a dangerous place to play, to talk, and to share an opinion. A lot of issues become over-talked through social media but seems like there is no real action (or not as much as how people talk about it on social media). I become easily bored, easily overwhelmed by a lot of topics, too many information, but just a tip of the iceberg ended up in my brain as a knowledge. Meaning that I'm not capable enough to talk about those particular topics.

However, as a human being, as an individual, I have my personal opinion regarding some of the topics or issues. Sustainable lifestyle trends, liveable cities, music, movies, idols (which I have a lot), social media, viral issues, culinary, education issue, norms, societies, politics, etc etc. I have my own perspective regarding those issues, but, since there are (my personal assumption) no 'safe' place in social media to throw my 'unpopular opinion' (or even more popular), I tend to keep my personal opinion to my self, or to my closest friends that I talk to (that I will just talk to people regarding the issue that I think related to them).

It's pretty ironic because social media was born to share with each other. It could be your daily life photos, your thought, your opinion, or to share useful information regarding what you are capable to. In fact, social media is growing as a double-sided knife for the users. I believe that the anxiety that I got is from the judgment of the other users. Even perhaps not all of them (or even none of them) judge me in a bad way, but, it is the effect of the social media itself. The anxiety to receive a bad judgment or bad opinion from the people is what I am scared of. I bet some of you feel the same too.

I don’t want to say that who I am in my social media accounts are not the real me either. Those are me. Me in a different approach. I use my social media accounts differently, and all of them reflect who I am that I want to.

For example, I will not share this kind of thought in my Instagram account, even tho’ people who know me through my Instagram can still access this blog easily, but they are the one who chooses what they want to know about me, they are the one who chooses to click on my blog link and read this. I might not share cat jokes like what I do in my twitter account, in my blog either, because this blog is my personal thought (that I’m ready to share it to the world). I assumed that people who click in my blog are the one who has more effort so that I put more effort for them to know me in a different way.

That is why, my twitter account is mostly about a random joke, rambling about daily life, or personal random thought because I believe that people who follow me don’t choose to read my tweet, it appears just it is. Even my twitter posts are mostly unnecessary, I still put an effort to make it positive or happy things in order to not ruin other people vibe. But I don’t need to put so much effort like I do in a blog or Instagram, because for me, Twitter is like a daily entertainment that will pass less than 24 hours.

On the opposite side, my Instagram is like the ‘cool’ and ‘polished’ me, I put more effort into my Instagram account. I took good photos, edit them, and posted them because that is what Instagram for, no? I don’t want to say that Instagram is like the ‘rich’ version of me, or how Twitter is the ‘poor’ version (like how Indonesian netizen says), but Instagram for me, is more about my personal branding and portfolio. I want people who know me through Instagram to see that I love to travel and I know how to describe the city pretty good through some photos that I took. That is why I don’t feel too comfortable to share too personal information on my Instagram.

I also have a blog, more personal, I believe that not so many people have the will to access and read all of this. I put more effort because this is like my personal diary, what I shared is what I thought (of course not all of them), I shared what I think is okay to share and with no intention to hurt or to talk about people (in a bad way). Purely about me and what I thought about particular topics.

If you know me personally, you will understand, that all of my social media accounts are really who I am in a real life as well. Just different moment and needs. That is one of the aims for me to make all of my social media accounts open for everyone. I want people who only know me from one social media able to see another side of me (if they have the guts to).

In the end, social media account is something that is written digitally, and digital meaning that it has the possibility that you can not take those back. You can not handle people to not talk bad about you through social media either. It is so scary if you think about how people can make a fake account just to take you down. It is scary that once you post about something, then, in the future you change your mind about ‘something’, but people will still dig into your old thought and use it as a weapon to hurt you.

After all, I think that social media accounts are just like your ‘portfolio’ and how do you want people to see you as a person. Do you want people to see you as a person that curse a lot? Do you want people to see you as a person that share a lot of negative vibes? It depends on you. On the other hand, as a ‘portfolio’, it will update frequently, people changes, opinion changes as the time goes. What I thought today could be different in a week, in a month, or in a year, it could be the same after ten years as well. In the end, we never know what is really in people’s heart and mind just from social media. What we know is only the tip of an iceberg.

Even though I have all the thoughts about social media above, I still have anxiety in social media. However, I also believe, that I must feel free to share anything that I want through my social media accounts. As long as I share positive things and not to hurt others, I think it is okay, isn’t it?

Addina Faizati
Early Autumn, 2018

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