Free Phew, I Got More Likes Than Them! Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Sociology, Anxiety, Media, Internet, People, Friends, Friendship, Disorders

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/28

Essay # 1: Exploratory Essay

How does the ubiquitous social media contribute to the spread and magnification of anxiety in users’ personal and social lives? The question needs conscientious and urgent answering to determine if anxiety levels are alarming, and if so, to come up with counter measures. Ample evidence points to social media being responsible for several kinds of anxieties in users. The direct messages, indirect suggestions, and numbers that reveal ‘followers’ and ‘likes’, besides the advertisements and mass opinion that abound in that space make people compulsive and anxious users. People brood over a variety of things, both at personal and social levels, because social media breeds mass comparisons. Users are anxious about their physical appearance; they are worried about being liked/ accepted or/ disliked/ rejected by other;, and they feel nervous meeting online friends face-to-face—in short, they let social sites dictate their lives. Looking at wEvidently, social media contributes to anxietyhat transpires on social media seems to induce and/ or increase anxiety levels —in people at large, and teens and youth, who are the more fervent users, in particular. 
Social media makes people self-conscious because “it counts our friendsmeasures our social reach” (Lehrer)—users compare themselves with other users based on ‘numbers’. The term ‘followers’ used in Twitter suggests subservience and could trigger inferiority complexes in people who have a lesser number of followers compared to the number they follow.leads to power relations. A twitterer with a large following complains about people giving “phony feedback” in a bid to get retweets or more followers, proving the quest for heirarchy. ; non-users too could feel anxious about missing out on something and eventually sign up at one or more sites. Social Media allows the garnering of ‘friends’ and leads to a competition on expanding the circle of friends.Online tools let people learn intimate details such as breakfast routines and airport delays, and bring them “into competition with a far larger group” and While some users have just a handful of friends, there are others with thousands. A person with a few friends could feel the psedo-closeness can cause “anxiety inducing side-effects.” (Lehrer).pangs of insecurity and loneliness when the others in his/ her circle are enjoying innumerable friends.
Other ways to feel evaluated and judged are also possible through social media interactions. For example, a person whose ‘friend request’ in Facebook is ignored can feel that he or she has been snubbed; the person might experience a decrease in self-esteem. Individuals with Social Media Anxiety Disorder feel “a sense of attachment to phone or computer, as if nothing else matters more” and have their anxiety levels up “when comments are not made and pictures are not posted/ tagged correctly.” (“Social Media Anxiety Disorder”). They are also constantly worrying about improvingfind opportunities to improve their ‘numbers’. Though firms promote online applications for jobs, “70-80% of all jobs are never posted online”; when people fail to perceive the “positive effects” if online branding, their frustration increases. Personal expectations from society in the form of pressure to stay connected constantly with family and friends causes individuals with “limited technical knowledge” to feel “anxious when using social media or disconnected if they abstain.” ((“Social Media Anxiety Disorder”).The term ‘followers’ used in Twitter suggests subservience and could trigger inferiority complexes in people who have a lesser number of followers compared to the number they follow.
The constant and instant updates on social media causes users to compare their lives, experiences and appearances with others and leads them to feel either inadequate or proud. Individuals have a whole network of people to compare themselves with, which worsens the detrimental effect. The additional stress in turn causes health and mental problems in active social media users. Profiles allow people to present an image of their choice to the world, —itwhich “can be far from realitylead to a near-obsession! .” Research findings suggest that sites such as “Facebook can increase people’s stress levels, produce anxiety and negatively affect a person’s sense of self.” Participants in another research, first exposed to another individual through Facebook and then had to meet in person had “increased psychological arousal.” In yet another study, half of the participants felt uneasiness when unable to access social media and two-thirds had sleeping difficulties due to “negative emotions after they had used the sites.” (Maldonado).), and the feelings surface more sharply when users meet someone for the first time in person after getting acquainted through networking sites.
Teenagers and kids have confessed that when they see their friends sending updates about having a good time, they feel left out; they also agree that “there is a constant—and at times anxiety-inducing—fixation with likes” (Wallace) on their snapshots and status updates; Olivia, 12, and Sadie, a 10th grader say they feel “sad, lonely and left out” when they see their friends hanging out without them. In addition, There there is obsession over reaching the ‘100 club’ where people with 100 or more likes are members. Graber, co-founder of says “It’s alomost like a little competition for the number of likes” and that “teens couldn’t stand not knowing what their friends were doing.” Studies have also shownA study by German researchers found that that social media makes people feel ‘bad’ about themselves,“a third of people felt worse after spending time on Facebook”, especially after viewing pictures of people having good times such as vacationsvacation pictures. Teens say that they are “definitely familiar with the feeling”, the “fear of missing out, also known by the acronym FOMO.”” (Wallace) that drives social media users to high anxiety levels. Reese, a Los Angeles 11th grader says that if she doesn’t get an instant reply, she assumes “that they got mad at me” and to prevent that, she closes her messages with a “smiley, exclamation point or LOL.” (Wallace).Several users seem to feel anxious about their words or lack of activity being misinterpreted—when texting or not marking ‘likes’ on some updates or missing out on some live action. In the messaging context, the presence or absence of a smiley could lend unintentional meaning to someone’s messages.
One study found correlation between “online social communication skills and self-esteem, indicating a link of offline relationships and time spent online.” Research also suggests that individuals suffering from social anxiety disorder and low self-esteem at the outset find it difficult to gain friends on social media sites. Such peoplePeople with low self-esteem might end up worsening their condition because they “express themselves in ways that are not particularly likeable, such as posting negative remarks” (Farfan) and depressive comments, which provoke others to ignore or belittle them. The process tends to escalate their anxieties, as their perception about themselves is damaged further. Studies also say that for those susceptible to depression, social media could exacerbate the tendency. making them less likely to make new friends.” (Farfan).
Social media platforms have one thing in common—they quantify social life and revolve around measurements, metrics and statistics. The users tend to focus on the numbers, rather than on staying connected and sharing information, which results in anxiety about online status and power relations. Even on the digital platform, people recognize the powerful and pay them more attention. Individuals endeavor to establish their power in the online social hierarchy. Moreover, everyone wants to showcase bigger numbers on the online social scale and is anxious about boosting his or her presence. “Social platforms both magnifyhierarchies (by measuring out friends, followers, links, etc.) and erase social distance” (Lehrer)—it thus brings all strata of people on a single platform. The situation could be a cause for excessive stress, because it breeds comparison across all levels. For instance, a student could be comparing herself to a movie star, and if she fails to emulate her idol’s lifestyle, she might feel depressed or end up indulging in undesirable activities. 
Research points to mental and physical health being threatened by social media over-usage. Recent statistics discovered 63% American Facebook users look up the site daily, while 40% do so multiple times per day. Experts opine that while social media provides distraction and alleviates boredom, —however, hyperactivity the interactions/ activities can cause excessive stress if usage becomes an and obsession. “For those who post status updates, the reinforcements keep comingsupportive comments and likes” (Whiteman);; naturally, they feel the urge to continue the behavior, which slowly and steadily leads to addictive behavior. (Whiteman).
There is reason to believe that chatting is another avenue for anxiety.  Besides worrying about what the person or persons on the other side would make of their words, individuals fret about the reply they are about to get. The bubbles that appear when the person on the other end is typing a reply termed “typing awareness indicator” can prove to be a stress factor, because; according to Dourish, a University of California professor, it is “a curious beast—it conveys that something is being done, but it won’t say what.” (Bennett). When people are involved in an important chat, the appearance/ disappearance of the bubble might get them tense—as it shows that the person on the other side is typing and retyping the message. If the bubble appears and then stops for a long while, it could mean the person started to type out a reply and then left the chat to do something else. The various interpretations involving the bubble can trigger anxiety during conversations.
Some studies show thatA study published in scientific journal Plos One says “What people feel and say in one place may spread to many parts of the globe on the very same day” and that “emotions ripple through social networks to generate large-scale synchrony that gives rise to clusters of happy and unhappy individuals.” The researchers found “negative Facebook posts increased by 1.16% and positive posts decreased by 1.19%.” Such effects could lead to more volatility everywhere, ranging from “political systems to financial markets.” (“Social networks like Facebook”). For instance, someone in a rainy city posts a cheerless message; that prompts people to recollect similar depressive episodes and respond with negative comments—and soon the unhappy mood spreads across the connected individuals. Given the reach of social media, it is even possible to see ‘global emotion’ leading to more volatile systems such as financial markets or political systems.
Social media seems to have a big impactplays a role on body image, especially among young women“in the development of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction in college-aged women.” “Evidence exists to show “that tThere is a relationship between the recent surge in disordered eating and high consumption of social media.” Phrases like “hunger hurts but starving works” or “food is the drug we must all quit” are quite common on social sites. 34 to 67% of college women have disordered eating habits at sub-threshold levels, which can affect their mental and physical safety. As per APA, most people with eating disorders suffer “feelings of helplessness and low self-esteem.” (Klein). The constant accessibility to social sites can worsen women’s worry about their physical image. They stress over their hair, facial features, belly size, and other body aspects by comparing themselves with the network celebrities and friends connected on social media. The same could easily be true for men, because they too are subject to the same exposure.
Though It is clear that though social media is a way to overcome physical distance and connect with people, it is fraught with anxiety-inducing pitfalls such as low self-esteem, fear of being left behind, comparisons on massive scales, obsession about checking status and numbers, and anxiety about being disliked. “Finding balance is key.” (Trudon). To enjoy the technology without getting ensnared, it is essential to step back and identify one’s usage and potential risks. While the negative aspect of spreading anxiety is undeniable, it is time to ask contrary questions too: Is it not possible to compare oneself with others, and improve one’s lifestyle, and self-esteem? Is it not possible for people to be inspired by others in the social network and come up with innovative and interesting snippets, pictures, and thingummies that could get them more follower? Is it not possible for people to correct themselves and grow into more mature individuals when they get negative feedback?

Works Cited List

1. Bennett, J. “Texting Anxiety Caused by Little Bubbles.” New York Times. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
2. Farfan, G. “Social Anxiety in the Age of Social Networks.” Psychological Science. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
3. Klein, K. “Why Don’t I Look Like Her?” Claremont Colleges Scholarship. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. < >.
4. Lehrer, J. “Online Status Anxiety.” Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
5. Maldonado, M. “The Anxiety of Facebook.” Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
6. “Social Media Anxiety Disorder.” University of British Columbia. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
7. “Social networks like Facebook can spread Moods.” BBC News. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
8. Trudon, Taylor. “The Very Real Anxiety that comes from Texting, ‘Likes’ and Fomo.” The Huffington Post. iWeb. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
9. Wallace, K. “Teen Like and FOMO Anxiety.” CNN. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.
10. Whiteman, H. “Social Media: How does it affect our mental health and well-being.” Medical News Today. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <>.

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