From The Atlantic online comes this report: People with low self-esteem tend to use social media like Facebook in ways that accentuate the negative. The research was done with students, but it is likely applicable to older users as well. People with limited self-esteem tend to post more negative things about themselves online. Those negative posts impact other people, as well as how those who post are perceived. That, in turn, affects the poster’s social standing. People don’t generally respond well to persistent negativity.
Facebook and other social media make it very easy to make thoughts and feelings public in ways that are not well thought out. In the case of Facebook, it is very easy to communicate with dozens — maybe hundreds — of people who may be the majority of a person’s network of friends and acquaintances. Putting negative posts out there indiscriminately may not be a lot better strategy than people who post embarrassing photos of themselves.
Think before you post. What are you saying about yourself? Is what you’re about to say really in your best interest? Don’t get in the habit of posting or tweeting every stray thought that goes through your head. Part of you may imagine that you are making a cry for help. You would likely be far better off using your phone to call a friend or to set up an appointment with a therapist.
Don’t over-disclose. You may call those 374 people with access to your profile your “friends,” but that doesn’t mean everyone truly knows you or understands the context for what you’re posting. Some things are best kept private. That’s especially true for relationship troubles.
Facebook and other social media can be great for people who feel socially awkward or alone. Just remember that technology like this is neutral, and can make things better or worse depending on the level of thoughtfulness you bring to it.