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Social Media is Making Us More Insecure

Social Media Insecurity

Disclaimer: a lot of you are probably going to disagree with me on this, and that is fine. I want to disagree with me.

After all, social media isn’t just a hobby for me. It’s my profession, which hopefully makes what I’m about to say a little more validated.

Social Media is making us insecure.

Specifically, people (skewing younger) are misusing the social media tools given to them and creating false impressions of themselves that are fueling their own insecurities, as well as the insecurities of their peers.

Plenty have researched the link between social media sites and depression. A 2012 study found that there is, in fact, a high correlation between depression and use of major social network, Facebook. The study assessed the risk of depression among high schoolers and compared the risk rate to links between depression and TV use, to name one.

Other studies somewhat disagree. Huffington Post discussed a few related findings and found that there seems to be a stronger case that social media doesn’t cause anxiety or depression, it just pushes already at-risk people off the figurative cliff.

I find that difficult to know for sure, and I gravitate more towards the idea that we have yet to see the true effects of what social media use is doing to the youngest of us.

See, the originators of these studies, and the writers like me who are interpreting them, are a different generation from the one ahead of us.

Yes, I am a millennial, but I’m also a little older. I didn’t grow up linked to social media like children are today, which means that we can only discuss what is happening in real-time with younger users.

And it’s not pretty.

It’s easy to make the argument that insecurity and low self-esteem is evident in teenagers, after all. We have millions of people logging into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, bragging about the great things that are happening in their lives. We know this because we see it every day.

Forget for one second how bragging is a result of insecurity. Focus on the result of this social competition we’re seeing before us. Kids are getting on Instagram and seeing pictures of people they know doing something that they aren’t. It can be overwhelming for someone between the ages of 13 and 16 to feel like they are missing out on something.

Honestly, we’ve all felt like this at one point, so you know that social jealousy can be a lot more impacting when you’re a teen, that stage of life when your self-esteem is at an all-time low.

Thus, teens like to lie about their lives in order to feel slightly better about what they think they’re missing out on. Why do you think Catfish seems to resonate so quickly with people? Most of us have been “catfished” or have even “catfished” someone else.

Social media is an anonymity paradox. On the one hand, we are more anonymous than we would be in a face-to-face interaction with someone. On the other hand, we are using social media to essentially make ourselves public to the whole world.

Now, I don’t mind being public about a lot of things, but I certainly don’t want some things to be so easily accessible. No one really does. The problem we need to address, then, is how we educate ourselves and those younger than us. 

Throwing money at the problem or forcing kids to stay away from it won’t help. Kids are way too far ahead of their parents for them to regulate social media use. Instead, kids (and us) need to be taught how to temper our concern and fixation over social media.

Would that solve the whole problem? No, but it’s a start. I’m convinced that a lot of the depression and anxiety complexes developing from social media can be prevented by good parenting and willpower.

And, of course, social media has just as many benefits as it does pitfalls. It’s strengthened relationships between friends separated by distance, given brands the opportunity to grow, provided many jobs, and overall, it’s been a great outlet for entertainment and leisure.

Just remember to be cautious of its ills.

So, when your friend tells you that they want to take a “break” from Facebook or Twitter for a few weeks, don’t mock them for it (which I am guilty of doing). Encourage and cheer them on.

You could even join them if you’re brave enough.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out New Professional News, a list of headlines essential for any new professional, updated daily at 8am.

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Don’t Be Impressed With Yourself

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Will you? Yes. Should you? Depends. Would it be better if you weren’t? Absolutely.

Let’s be clear: self-esteem isn’t being brought into question. Having a high self-esteem is crucial in preventing depression and anxiety, so please don’t get the two confused.

The difference between self-esteem and being impressed with yourself is within the very nature of the words. Self-esteem has everything to do with being content with yourself. It’s a word that relates to satisfaction and confidence.

By contrast, being impressed literally means to “affect forcibly or deeply” in relation to admiration. Why do you think the word is synonymous with “imprint?”

Most of us can agree that self-esteem is a positive force in our lives, but I’m not so sure about the idea of always being impressed with yourself.

Having such a high admiration of yourself leads to nothing but conceit and complacency. After all, our ambitions are stifled when we think we’ve achieved everything we can. This intense focus on ourselves prevents us from being objective and, more importantly, creative.

The essence of what I’m trying to say is this: don’t be satisfied with where you are at and what you are doing. Don’t be “impressed” with yourself. Instead, be confident in what you’ve managed to achieve and then move forward.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Why Our Generation is Depressed

Why Our Generation is Depressed

There are three main things that affect our emotions:

Environment is a big one, since our moods directly correspond with where we are at and our basic sensory concepts.

Events obviously have a lot to do with our mental states, as they typically reflect how we react and interact with the circumstances of our lives.

Well, I want to talk about people. How do people fit into what we’re feeling either positively or (gasp) negatively?

Depression is the topic at hand here, and I believe the onset of negative emotions in relation to people is typically chalked up to very basic suspects. Things like failed relationships and a troubled family life are usually discussed.

I want to go deeper, though! I want to address something I think a lot of new professionals like me go through once college is over and the next chapter of life takes hold. I don’t think I need to underscore how intense of a transition that can be, after all, so just bear with me.

I was a bit of an extracurricular nerd back when I was a sophomore in college. I remember being in a psychology lecture held late at night for no extra credit. It was just a special speaker talking about developmental psychology, and I’ll never forget her key anecdote that addressed the first time she went through depression.

The basic story is that a shift in her environment, moving away after college with her husband, caused her to experience a gradual rise in depression without her even realizing it. It was almost a year before she even recognized she was depressed.

Now, this example involves environment (in this case, a new one), an event (moving), and people (losing close relationships). These factors and more led to her becoming, well unhappy with her life. She talked about how she couldn’t even describe what was bothering her, but it negatively affected many aspects of her life. She couldn’t sleep well, eat right, or even find work rewarding.

I say all this because I’ve noticed to a degree that this is very common, not only because it has in fact happened to me, but also because I see it in the lives of friends I know all over the country. Obviously, the severity is varied, but this problem seems to resonate with a lot of postgrad millennials (I would love to do a study on this by the way).

We can analyze all day about why millennials are going through this. Some great theories have to do with how collective mentality is far more prominent within our demographic compared to more individualistic generations before us. That would explain why social pressures and expectations may impact us more than they probably should.

Of course, my boss would say it’s because the concept of actually working and facing tangible problems is something our generation wasn’t prepared well enough for. Few can argue with me that millennials are lazy. While we may have fantastic, creative minds, a lot of us have more trouble actually executing the work.

I certainly don’t have any concrete answers, but I do have my own experiences to call on, and I am quickly becoming more aware of what societal mood changer affects me the most. People.

One of my mentors left me with this notion many years ago: “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll either tell you who you are are or who you are going to be.” 

I’ll never admit it to him, but I’ve shaped almost every friendship according to this credence ever since he first said this to me. And it rings true. The people we surround ourselves with have a lot more to do with our emotions and mental states than we sometimes realize.

This has definitely been a beneficial concept to live by in the sense that I’ve surrounded myself with good people with fantastic ambitions and morals, but my emotional state has also been greatly impacted by these people over this past year since becoming a new professional.

 

I’m not saying my friends make me depressed or anything like that (not all of them at least), but I have found incredible data relating to my most productive, positive phases in life.

Surprisingly, the best times I’ve had this past year where I was the most driven, focused, and mentally healthy were times when I was investing my emotional energy into close relationships, especially family.

Of course, my most lethargic and scattered phases have been times when my life has basically been an episode of Dawson’s Creek. 

Without getting too personal here, I’ll conclude what seems to work for me when wrestling with these problems. If you’re not sharing your life with people and allowing others to affect your mental being positively, then you’re only letting yourself take in the negative.

It’s not the deepest statement in the world, but let’s hope that at least got you thinking.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

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