What’s social media got to do with mental health?

A lot. It’s mental health awareness week and I want to touch on the issue in relation to social media from the perspective of a social media manager.

First up my disclaimer is that I love social media, and believe it holds incredible value for business and brands and consumers. I also am real enough to admit that on a personal level it’s not all roses and sunshine – like anything it can be abused or used in a way to abuse ourselves and others.

As a marketer, and curious person, I find it interesting to observe how we interact with each other online, and the different ways we use social media. We’ve really have carved a social culture out online that continues to evolve  and there are some habits that I’ve noticed that haven’t really shifted in the last 6 years or so. I think they’re relevant because our habits have an impact on the way we live our lives. Here are a few quick fire thoughts of habits that I believe we need to be careful of:

  1. Posting or venting your thoughts and feelings on social media doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with an issue.
  2. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything.
  3. It’s not ok to hide behind social media and use it as a tool to abuse others in the same way it’s not acceptable to do that face to face with someone you do not know. FYI According to my twitter feed today it looks like the law is introducing serious consequences for those who choose to take that path now too.
  4. The need to be known or followed is overrated, seriously. Remember what you see on social media the majority of the time is someone’s highlight reel. I know of people who have large reputable followings who look cutesy and inspirational on the outside, but severely depressed, isolated and lonely in reality.
  5. Comparison in is a killer – this is really relevant in any sphere or walk of life, but especially on social media when we are matching and patching our homes, family and lifestyles against other people.
  6. Time management  and healthy breaks – if we turn our phones off, or delete our apps for a second it doesn’t mean we’re missing out. Actually I highly recommend taking social media breaks to just be in the moment. I have been guilty of this one too, so I recently removed Facebook from my phone (except Pages for work purposes) and I can’t tell you how much time and space in my mind I’ve saved from a developed habit of being glued to social media. Its liberating.
  7. Consumer or consumed? Our attention span has dramatically fallen over the last few years, and whilst I’m no mental health professional, I know this is having an impact on the way we consume content, particularly online. For example, the length of copy, or video clips has continued to shorten and simplify to accommodate our fast-paced lives.

Consumed or consumer? Stay tuned for Friday’s blog post that delves deeper into the question how much does social media impact on our mental health?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s