My Social Media Anxiety

It’s no secret that I have social anxiety; I get nervous even thinking about talking to people I don’t know, and I’m terrified of people judging me. But my social anxiety stretches beyond the sphere of face-to-face interaction; it follows me in the digital world too.

Let me give you an example: three months ago, I joined the page for incoming freshmen at my university, and the big trend on that page was to post an introduction of yourself. I decided to post a similar introduction because I wanted to meet people.

It took me a month to finally post that introduction.

Every time I went to the page telling myself that I would finally write that intro, I would get a few words down, delete everything, and shut my computer off. Eventually, I got tired of always deleting everything, so I opened a Google doc and spent a few weeks tweaking my intro until finally I just decided to get it over with (kind of like ripping a band-aid off). As soon as I had posted it, I shut my computer off and didn’t check Facebook for a few hours.

Once I turned Facebook back on (after worrying constantly about how my intro would be received) I was pleasantly surprised to find that people had reacted well to it. Some people had commented on it, so I replied to them, talked a little, and then one girl asked me to send her a friend request. So I did. And then I had a panic attack.

I had a panic attack because I sent someone a friend request.

It’s true that was an extreme case of my anxiety (it’s the only panic attack I’ve gotten from sending someone a friend request) but I still have anxiety every time I contribute to a social media platform. I’ve actually downloaded Snapchat three or four times already and deleted it each time. I tried Twitter once, but I deleted my account. I have an Instagram, but I only post once in a blue moon (and when I do, it’s nearly always a picture of AT&T Park). I’ve even had a Tumblr twice, and I thought that would help (because Tumblr is supposedly the place where people with social anxiety go) but I deactivated my account twice.

Pretty much the only social media platform I’m on is Facebook, and every time I post something, my anxiety skyrockets because I’m scared people will find me annoying for my content or for posting too much (even though I can count the number of times I’ve posted so far this year on two hands).

And honestly, it seems like a pretty weird thing to be anxious about.

-cmblanc

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4 thoughts on “My Social Media Anxiety

  1. you nailed it at the beginning of the post, it is the whole judging thing which is the cause of so much anxiety. For myself, I used to have a problem opening emails. I would load up the program, see all the emails come in and be happy that 99% of it was spam, but then that 1 personal email came through and I would instantly close my email client.

    I’m the same with posts on facebook groups. Not so bad with my facebook friends because I’m generally pretty selective about who I add, but in the support groups I am in, I can post a message, get notifications that there have been replies but I find it quite difficult to check what they say because I feel it is going to be nasty and negative and horrible and OH GOD NO!

    I’m sure there are others that feel similarly 🙂 you aren’t alone.

    Like

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