Sitting chatting recently with a couple of friends, we got to talking about the effects of anxiety. And the fact that it can be rare, even among the closest of friends, to truly open up about feelings of weakness, insecurity or self-doubt.
If the majority of our friends' social media posts are anything to go by, it can sometimes seem that we live in a world of perpetual holidays, perfect partners and photo-ready dinners.
Yet dig a little deeper in a one on one conversation and you discover so much more. There's an undeniable connection that comes from being courageous enough to share a few of the negatives or niggles of life. In being honest enough to admit that happy times can sometimes be hard-fought for and that we all have the potential to harbour self-doubt on even the sunniest of days.
When it comes to social networking for business there's something undeniably appealing about companies that present an honest, quirky or off-centre view of things. Kat Williams' phenomenally successful blog Rock and Roll Bride is a case in point, providing candid advice and insights that peel away the shinier veneer to reveal authentic, real-life experiences. Kat also isn't afraid to share her own personal ups and downs through her social media posts. And there's something about her willingness to show a little vulnerability that's appealing, endearing and builds a real spirit of trust.
In the latest State of Inbound 2017 report, one of the significant findings among the 6000+ respondents was "a desire for raw, honest connection." Taking the time to ensure we are creating content that is insightful, humble, empowering and customer-focused could well be the key to being heard in an increasingly crowded social media space.
Previous studies have suggested that young people who spend more than two hours a day on social networking sites are more likely to report psychological distress. “Seeing friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can make young people feel like they are missing out while others enjoy life,” the #StatusOfMind report states. “These feelings can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude.” Social media posts can also set unrealistic expectations and create feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, the authors wrote. This may explain why Instagram, where personal photos take center stage, received the worst scores for body image and anxiety. As one survey respondent wrote, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’.”