Managing Your Mental Health While Managing A Newsroom’s Social Media

By Chaseedaw Giles
Kaiser Health News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Chaseedaw Giles reports, “Social media managers see the best of the internet and the worst. It is hard not to feel it personally.”

Kaiser Health News

Like many people in society today, we know we spend too much time online, but as social media managers it is our job to be there.

Social media managers, a position that was unheard of a decade ago, experience tremendous stress.

Social media can be a toxic place, especially for those of us who work in that space. Angry users on social seem to forget that a human being is behind the brand’s account they are screaming at or the story they are criticizing.

At the most recent Online News Association conference in Austin, Texas, I asked social media editors, “How do you manage your mental health while managing social media?” The universal response was, “Wow. That’s a really good question.” I quickly realized that we share experiences, anxieties and coping mechanisms, up to and including check-ins with mental health professionals.

We spend countless hours online not just scheduling tweets, but also sharing and reading comments, crunching the analytics and creating reports on audience reach and growth. We relish seeing our stories go viral, prompting lots of discussion and increasing our followers. But it’s a lonely place, and often frightening. Our professional profiles, either public or private, often lead to harassment and abusive online attacks.

Social media managers see the best of the internet and the worst. It is hard not to feel it personally.

“It is designed to hurt,” said Tracey Spencer, a psychologist in Washington, D.C., whom I called for advice.

“That’s what bullies do. These people are projecting their own feelings and insecurities, and likely don’t know how to be empathetic. What they are saying has nothing to do with you.”

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