Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Dark Side of Social Media

Today I would like to identify a new form of mental illness. Although it is not currently on the list of proposed modifications to the DSM-V* scheduled for publication next year, Social Media Stress Syndrome (SMSS) is a new and pervasive disorder that could easily turn into a pandemic.

The essential feature of Social Media Stress Syndrome is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and  a need for admiration that begins upon joining Facebook and expands across a variety of social media platforms. Individuals with this Syndrome have a grandiose sense of self-importance which often shows in the superior tone of their blog posts. They may feel that they can only be understood by, and should only share posts from other people who are special or of high status.

Individuals with this order are obsessed with their Klout score, SEO rankings and monthly page views on their sites. They believe their knowledge and understanding is special and must be shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and when images are involved, Pinterest.

Vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with Social Media Stress Syndrome very sensitive to “injury” from criticism or a lack of retweets. Although they may not show it outwardly, a Facebook post without any likes may haunt these individuals and leave them feeling frustrated, hollow and empty. Sustained feelings of incompetence and the attendant self-criticism may be associated with social withdrawal, depressed mood and Dysthymic or Major Depressive Disorder.

Individuals with SMSS traits are encouraged to engage employment in the field of Social Media Marketing where their symptoms can be allowed to flourish full time. Those who find that they can no longer keep up with their Twitter feeds and need to spend more than an hour a day reviewing their Facebook news feed need to take the following steps:

Remember that you will receive no hate mail if you don’t tweet today!

Turn off the podcast on Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders and listen to some music!

Do not check your page views today!

Put down Steve’s biography and read some fiction!

Understand that you will never save Apple or start Facebook and that’s OK!

Keep your sense of humor about life, the universe and everything!

Don’t Panic!

Remember that:

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel.
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save.
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
Beg borrow or steal.
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say.
All that you eat
And everyone you meet
All that you slight
And everyone you fight.
All that is now
All that is gone
All that's to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

Roger Waters

* Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.