As Facebook creeps into every part of our lives, it is important to take a step back and consider what is on our personal pages, and the positive and negative emotional effects of this complete immersion into a social media culture.
If you do not worry about information posted by yourself or others potentially coming back to haunt you later, you are in the minority. Whether it be pictures from what is referred to as the “red solo cup days,” embarrassing photos in your room with friends, or wall posts from your now ex-boyfriend, information posted on your Facebook may not be data you want available to certain people now or in the future. Recent studies show that this phenomenon has actually turned into a sizeable amount of stress for many Facebook users.
Ben Marder, a marketing fellow who did research on the subject, says, “Facebook used to be like a great party where you can dance, drink and flirt. But now with your Mum, Dad and boss there the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines.” This added element of anxiety seems to correlate with number of Facebook friends – the more friends, the more stress that an activity or post will not sit well with a certain viewer. Unsurprisingly, parents, relatives, and colleagues/bosses cause the greatest anxiety increase.
With so much stress arising from posts and friends, why do people bother? Why post any pictures if you have to constantly worry about what is appropriate? Why accept the friend requests of people from work? Well, it turns out Facebook can foster positive emotions as well. It reportedly is helping change the workplace by humanizing those who use it. Anxious your boss will see that photo of your two kids in precious Halloween costumes because you left work a couple hours early that day? Stressed your employees will see pictures of you with margaritas? If you can let that stress go, studies have shown Facebook can actually improve office relationships by slowly introducing parts of personal lives that may have been hidden.
Overall, while stress is never a welcomed sentiment, a healthy amount of anxiety can make sure your Facebook activity stays in check. If you aren’t worried about that Facebook video of vandalizing the school, you may have an arrest coming your way. However, general day to day actions should not be fretted about and can help make yourself seem more human and real to those surrounding you.