Thecan be substantial. But again, the positives too. A 2019 study found that regular social media use is associated with improved social well-being, positive mental health, and self-rated health. This suggests that social media can be a good thing if you’re an intentional, conscious user.
Social media can be a powerful tool for expressing yourself, raising awareness of social issues, and sharing compelling stories that resonate with your audience. Enter Elyse Myers, a comedian who uses platforms like TikTok and Instagram to share stories (like her infamous date where she bought 100 tacos), make people laugh and talk about her mental health. In a world of, there is Myers. It has become a staple of authenticity and honesty that people turn to; she even lends her expertise to events like a mental health panel at VidCon next month.
I had the chance to sit down and talk to Myers about how she uses access to 5.3 million subscribers across all platforms to normalize things like, and .
Social media can be used to talk about important topics
In recent years, especially with the risesocial media has become a prominent tool for discussing important topics – including . If you’ve scrolled through Instagram or TikTok, you’ve probably come across Myers and his trademark “Great question, I’d love to tell you.” Her approachability and passion for bringing attention to topics like anxiety and depression with her storytelling has earned her the title of “the internet’s best friend.”
For Myers, using her platforms to cover these topics came naturally, she said. “I never really liked waking up one day and thinking, you know what, today I’m going to talk about my depression. It just happened naturally because it’s something I’m passionate about,” Myers said.
“The more we can drop it in our conversations and not apologize for it, I think that’s a really powerful thing, and I think more people need to do that,” she added.
She described a journey of being more open and intentional with her platform over time. Besides making people laugh, she wanted to de-stigmatize the normal (but sensitive) things that a lot of people live with. And it turned out people connected with her and what she had to say.
“At first I was talking about my anxiety and my social anxiety. I think I was sharper in my conversations when I realized not many people were doing it online and people were really resonating there. I was so encouraged that people have been encouraged by my videos talking about mental health.”
You can create and engage in a meaningful community
Social media isn’t just a place to raise awareness; it is also a place to build and engage in community. Myers took the time to cultivate a bond with his viewers. “I have made a point of being very active in my comments and building a community. It’s really important to me to not just create content about people consuming it and leaving. I don’t don’t do that in real life, and I don’t want to do that online,” she said.
Many have latched onto the positivity offered by Myers, which has led to a remarkable community that celebrates sanity and healthy boundaries. The comment sections of her videos, which she described as “overwhelmingly positive”, have become a place to connect, share stories and encourage others. And bring real change in their lives.
“I’ve had people tell me that because I was so open to talking about my mental health, they found a therapist for the first time in their life. ‘they struggled with certain mental illnesses or addictions,’ Myers said.
Communities can be very powerful, both on and off social media. Myers shared an anecdote about a group of Patreon subscribers who “fell in love with being friends” and hosted a virtual baby shower for a woman. They met through Myers’ Patreon, and their friendship grew after casual commenters and clicking “I’ll be there” on an email invitation.
But you’ll have to deal with the negativity
With the good comes the bad – and there’s a lot of negativity on social media. Even with the success stories and real-life friendships she helped grow, the nasty comments were part of the process. Myers described his experience of becoming “less of a person” to some as his platforms grew.
“I think people originally, when my content started coming out, always saw me as a whole person and that was a person behind the videos,” Myers explained. “As my followers grow, my influence grows a bit, and my online presence grows, people are getting more and more comfortable with the fact that I may not see every comment. .” And so they can feel more free to say negative things.
Myers is a comedian with millions of people watching her content. So, yes, she may have more negativity than most, but those experiences aren’t limited to influencers on the internet. Not seeing yourself as people on social media is a mindset that can be detrimental. Comparing yourself to others can lower your self-esteem and hurt how you see yourself.
With social media filters and algorithms, it’s easy to forget that the person on your screen is a real person. Dealing with the uncertainty others bring to social media or how it can potentially affect you negatively is difficult. However, we can all start by thinking of ourselves as people, not as products, things or images that we can never reach.
Tips to make sure social media doesn’t get you down
It is essential to know your limits with social media. For Myers, who uses social media in the course of her work, it is sometimes difficult to separate them. Myers shared that the negativity she receives is sometimes hard to ignore. “It’s been pretty tough. It’s really taken a toll on my mental health for the past few months, but I’m really trying not to commit to it.”
Use these tips to help you recognize when social media is becoming a negative influence on your mental health.
Don’t post just because you feel you need to
Regardless of how you use social media — for work or play — sometimes there’s pressure to post. If not, how will your followers know what’s going on with you?
“A lot of the time you’ll see someone have initial success, and people get amplified, and then they feel like they have to repeat that same success over and over and over and over or they’ll become useless,” Myers said.
Myers suggests that you shouldn’t create or post out of desperation just to get something out. When you use social media a lot and become emotionally dependent on the comments you receive, it can make symptoms of anxiety or depression worse. Don’t treat yourself like a content mill who has to post to get likes. Social media is at its best when it complements your lifestyle, not everything.
“When I feel that pressure, that’s when I feel the most exhausted, the most tired, the most resentful. [toward] my public, [toward] my job. And it’s not healthy for my content, but it’s definitely not healthy for me, as a person, as a mother, as a wife, as a friend,” Myers said.
Set your red flags and take a step back when you need it
This one seems obvious, but it can be one of the hardest to pin down. Being able to identify red flags for your mental health can help. Whether it’s worsening feelings of anxiety or depression or feeling disconnected from those around you, there will be signs that you need to take a break. Check in on yourself and intentionally note your mood patterns, how you feel, and the quality of your sleep. This will help you determine when you need to step away or do a digital detox.
Remember what social media can do
Social media doesn’t have to be a place where you only show off your best. And it doesn’t have to be a place where you engage with negative feedback. When used intentionally, social media can be a very good thing.
Myers uses it to make people laugh and talk about mental health, but you can keep in touch with old friends, connect with others, or even find new ways to decorate your living room. Social media can be a powerful way to raise awareness of issues and connect with others, but using it should never come at the expense of your mental well-being.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.