Social Media, Anxiety and Self Worth

As my job as a streamer on Twitch scaled up to a full time job, it became almost all consuming in every aspect of my life. When I wasn’t streaming I was working on things to get the next stream setup. When I wasn’t doing that I was plugged into social media trying to keep up with the game and what was going on with the people around it.

Every time I sent a tweet or posted on Reddit I would feel a sense of anxiety bubble up inside of me. Would I be praised? Refresh. Would I be vilified? Refresh. Why did they dislike me? Refresh. Did they understand what I said? Refresh. Why didn’t they understand what I said? Refresh.

Many Humans have a natural tendency to focus on the negative in life. This means on a good day when I’d get a dozen positive comments, the one or two hostile ones would sting. I’d remember them longer.

There weren’t just good days though. Have you ever had someone tell you that you are terrible at the thing you spend most of your time doing? How about two people? How about a dozen people? How about fifty people who get up votes and likes from hundreds of other people?

I think many of us, myself included, often forget that there is a person on the other side of our computer. We type things to TopDeckHero420 that we would never dream of saying to someone in real life. It is harder to be empathetic to a faceless username than it is to be to a person standing in front of us. It is easier to write them off as dumb, rude or mean as opposed to misunderstood.

Just as much as I have been on the receiving end of this, I have also been the one who has sent out the hostility on more than one occasion. The social media world is fueled by hot takes and putting people on blast to encourage outrage. Taking a step back and thinking about the impact your words will have often comes second to garnering clicks, likes and upvotes.

For a long time I rationalized to myself that the way social media culture occurred did not impact me. I was tough. I had a thick skin. Blocking, banning, muting and timing out people who wanted to be hostile was “fun”.

It wasn’t fun though. It did impact me. It made me anxious. It made me frustrated. It made me sad. It made me question my self worth. It made me wonder why I spent the time making the things I made.

Some of you may have noticed a couple of months back the tone and types of posts on my Twitter account changed a bit. This was because I gave up direct control of that account to my loving wife who now runs it as a content focused account with the occasional post about our adorable kids. At the end of last year I did something similar with my reddit account, but this time leaving my buddy Mat with the login.

Not only did not spending time on social media make me more productive – it made me happier. While I was missing out on some positive feedback, I also wasn’t being subjected to negativity. It is a change I wish I had made sooner.

In case any of you here find yourself in a similar spot in life just remember –

  • You are great
  • Life is short
  • Social media is optional
  • You are worth more than your number of likes