Social Networking

Back in high school, we would often have debates around technology, and whether it was something bad or good. The conversation is now different. With much observation and reference to the current digital space, it is very clear that we cannot do without technology, and much more, social media.

There has been many developments that have been brought about by the advancement of technology- some good, and others harmful. Through it, people have had access to information, opportunities, and convenience, whereas in the same measure, others have been manipulated, conned, exposed, cyberbullied and experienced far worse scenarios.

The other day while buying groceries, I overheard a heated conversation between two people, a man and a woman regarding a social media topic. The lady explained that she has been able to grow her network, market her business and also be part of an online community thanks to social media.  The man, on the other hand, though affirming to have social media accounts does not engage in any way. He explained that through social media, he risks exposing himself and his family to a strange world, and that he preferred other networking methods. This conversation brought some light into how different people think and perceive social media. While both of them were correct, the man’s ideology is most likely as a result of social networking. Let’s have a look at what this means.

Social networking is the use of internet-based social media sites to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, or customers. It can have either a social purpose or a business purpose, or even both.

As of October 2022, there were 4.74 billion social media users worldwide. The number of active social media users increases every second with 6 new average users joining. This implies that the majority of the people you desire to connect with are most likely online. This furthermore explains the rise of e-commerce- where Marketers use social networking to increase brand recognition and encourage brand loyalty.

A typical social media user spends close to 2.5 hours on average, every day on social media, with Facebook being the most popular social network globally.

Why social networking?

We live in a world where almost everything is online. Plans are made online, meetings too and information is easily accessible. There are a lot of opportunities for people to be seen and heard. This is a real game-changer. Being well connected on the internet has many advantages in one’s relationships, career and life in general.

While we applaud the growth of social platforms, we must also be aware of the fact that social media, has increased social anxiety.

Social anxiety is a common mental health problem characterized by fear of being judged by others, or a negative and distorted image of how people perceive themselves in social situations.

How can you get over the fear of social networking?

Social media has many interesting options. One can control what they share, choose a target audience, hide parts of themselves that they don’t want to expose, or even delete posts.

Here are 4 ways to overcome the fear of social networking:

  1. Practice – Start small and take things a step at a time. Social media is your friend. The connections you make whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and related platforms can be very essential to your success.
  • Avoid overthinking – It is wise to be careful of what you put out there, but if you are using social media for the right purposes, then you don’t have to overthink how you or your products will be perceived. You might have people who will encourage, or criticize you. Use that to your advantage.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – the pressure that comes with social networking is excessive and can cause people to compare themselves to others. The truth is, most people use social media to showcase their ideal version- social media doesn’t give a true glimpse of someone’s life. Avoid comparison.
  • Avoid being self-focused – socially anxious people tend to focus their attention on themselves, hence becoming execessively critical of themselves. For example, when you post something good and people don’t like, comment or react to it, refrain from thinking badly of yourself. In a space flooded with thousands of posts, it is likely that someone missed yours or got distracted while at it.

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