The stress of social

If you are reading this you are a consumer of online information and that means you are probably a social media user as well. Have you tweeted today? Have you checked your Facebook page? If you are a Facebooker how many “friends” do you have and how do you choose those friends? These are questions worth reflecting on in light of a new study that shows the more Facebook friends you have, the greater the stress.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh analysed more than 300 people’s Facebook use. They found that on average people have Facebook friends that come from seven different social circles. Friends known in everyday life was the biggest group as 97 per cent of people added them as Facebook friends. Other groups were extended family (81 per cent), siblings (80 per cent), friends of friends (69 per cent), and work colleagues (65 per cent).

The analysis found that stress arises when you present a version of yourself on Facebook, via posts or images, that is not accepted by some of your online “friends”. According to the researchers this is becoming an increasing problem as a wider variety of people adopt Facebook.

As older people join Facebook this is introducing generational differences in what is acceptable Facebook behaviour. Around 55 per cent of parents follow their children and more than 50 per cent of employers claim that they have decided not to hire someone based on their Facebook page.

In all, the study found that while a large number of “friends” may seem impressive to yourself and others, the more friends you have the higher your stress levels.

So when is a friend a source of stress? When they are a Facebook friend. Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should withdraw from Facebook. Opening yourself up to others entails a certain amount of risk but the benefits of community and face-to-face social interaction are well documented, making the risk worthwhile. The “connection” to Facebook “friends”, however, is less well understood particularly when you consider that these “friends” may be people you have never met (have little understanding or commonality with) and your interaction can take place with you in total physical isolation. As the internet and Facebook reaches further into your life it is worth knowing that although it is all happening on a computer screen, the effects of social media are real. So remember the old adage and choose your “friends” wisely.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

You May Also Like

Loving And You A Recipe For Valentines Day

Loving and You – A recipe for Valentines Day

Stimming Child Lying Down

Stimming and recognising overwhelming emotions

being single

How to find peace with being single

Happiness And The Ingredients Needed To Create It

Happiness and the ingredients needed to create it