According to a recent study done by the Pew Research Center, social media is not to blame for the stress in people’s lives. Surely active users of social media are more informed about stressful situations around the world or within their own community, however this does not create a direct correlation. The study proves that “there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others,” and therefore induces the “cost of caring,” making stress contagious.
When I think about the results of this study and its implications in my own life, I disagree with the conclusion. Social media causes more stress than it’s worth. Users including myself are constantly comparing themselves to others. The fact of the matter is, people only post the highlights of their day. This creates a false representation and allows for others to think of themselves coming up short.
Watch this video by Mr. Stress Management for a more in depth analysis.
Another important aspect to look at in deeming social media as stressful or unstressful are specific case studies. When Facebook launched their “Year in Review” feature last year, stress for Eric Meyer became unparalleled. The feature allowed users to create a video of the most popular posts from the year and share it with friends. While this seems like a good idea, Facebook’s algorithm left out the humanizing aspect. For Meyer, memories of his 6-year-old daughter dying of brain cancer surfaced.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media! However, the day I created my first social media account in 2008 was the day I entered a stressful zone of unending FOMO (fear of missing out), addictions to checking my push notifications, and an unhealthy desire to measure up to my peers.