In this guide, we are going to discuss the impact of Professional social media platforms such as Linkedin and it’s impact on mental health and being on it could be making you depressed.
We are going to take a closer look at why you might be feeling anxious and depressed every time you are on Linkedin based on various personal accounts.
We will also take a moment to look at ways with which you can cope with Linkedin related stress and depression.
How can I cope if Linkedin is making me depressed?
If you find yourself stressed or distressed because of your time spent on Linkedin, here are some things you can do to cope:
- Delete the app and opt for the website
- Make use of privacy controls
- Regulate your screen time on the site
- Be mindful when you engage with the site
Linkedin is an american employment oriented online service that was launched in 2003 and as of 2016, Linkedin has been acquired by microsoft.
The company’s mission as stated is,
“...To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
The platform offers a space for professionals to network and form connections with other professionals. It also allows job seekers to reach out to recruiters and post their resume while allowing employers to post job vacancies.
It has proven itself to be a powerful tool with an estimate of 700 + uses across 200 countries and territories all over the globe, and approximately 55 million companies registered on it.
Linkedin has become an indispensable part of the professional scene. Maddy Osmart at Kinsta writes that 87 percent of recruiters use linkedin to find new employees while 79 percent of marketers find a good amount of leads through the site.
Linkedin allows people to create a professional profile with such ease and it doesn’t even take a new minute to update your current position, your picture, and your recent awards and successes.
Most of why Linkedin has become such an important part of the professional work culture seems to be because it is seen as a legitimate source of information about a person or a company.
Linkedin and Mental Health
There is a scarcity of research done on this particular professional website and its impact on mental health. However a study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking gave insight to the link between Linkedin and emotional distress of its users.
The study assessed a representative sample of 1,780 young adults between the ages of 19–32 from the United States regarding frequency of LinkedIn use, depression, and anxiety which controlling factors such as age, sex, race, relationship status, living situation, household income, education level, and overall social media use.
The study found that a large number of individuals did not use Linkedin (72 percent). 16 percent reported using Linkedin at least a little but it’s frequency was less than once a week. Another group that consisted of 12 percent of the population studied reported using it at least once a week.
The study highlighted that Linkedin, like all other forms of social media, can help the user feel more connected with other people, feel gratified, more self-assured, and less anxious about work-related issues.
However, like all other social media platforms, the study found that the use of Linkedin was related to increased anxiety and depression. The study also offered conceptual reasonings for the results.
They posited that it could be because job seekers who turn to the site could feel inadequate to the carefully crafted profiles of other professionals and idealize them, they might feel like they have wasted time on the portal.
It is also possible that the reason why there is an increased rate of depression or anxiety amongst users could be because of pre-existing stress related to job search and work related dissatisfaction which might make people more depressed and anxious when they come across other people living idealized lives.
The experience of using Linkedin has been highlighted by a 30-something momtrepreneur named Fairy in her blog, powernappy. She writes that in her experiment to understand whether browsing linkedin for an hour would be productive or a negative way to spend her time.
Her self-experiment found that she experienced a myriad of emotions from fury to jealousy and unrest. She described her anger at the fact that many of the users were overstating their achievements and even stealing someone else’s. She concluded that most company related efforts were fake.
She also reported feeling jealous over the fact people just seemed to be more successful and more productive than here- even the ones who were currently unemployed which made her feel bad about herself- like she has not been doing anything with her life.
There was also an element of life and career dissatisfaction- when she came across people who were changing careers and transitioning. She began to compare herself to their “courage” all the while being critical about her own efforts.
She writes that Linkedin did not do any good for her mental health and she reasons it is because of the fact that like teenagers, even professional adults want to fit in, do better than everyone else which often leads to comparing oneself to others.
Shraddha Iyer for Youth Ki Awaaz writes that Linkedin has become even more toxic during the pandemic of the push to become more productive, unpaid internships, and Linkedin influencers who seem to spread unrealistic expectations of performance and success.
She writes that this platform is no longer doing it’s purpose of networking and helping people find jobs but rather it has become an “avenue to set unrealistic standards, experience FOMO and guilt.”
Causes of linkedin related distress
Let us take a look at what causes linkedin related distress on working professionals.
Too many Lawns
We have all heard the saying that “the grass is greener on the other side.” Linkedin is something familiar to a huge neighbourhood with plenty of lawns- some greener than others.
It is a platform that allows you to check other people’s accomplishments and activities but the reality is, the platform does not allow us to look at people’s work realistically.
When you engage with the platform without mindful attention to how other people’s accomplishments and successes reflect yours, it can be easy for you to feel inadequate and even angry at yourself.
The constant comparison can lead to mental health distress just like any other social media platform does and it can impact your sense of well-being especially when you engage in negative self-evaluation based on what other people are doing.
Overwhelming amount of information
Across the platform you will find a myriad of information on how to get your professional life started, how to improve it, and how to be more successful than others and these aren’t even advertisements.
These self-help information and coping tips are often created by companies, Linkedin Influencers, and other self-proclaimed career coaches without much fact checking.
These types of information glorify hustle culture and disregards the balance that is necessary to have a healthy life and well-being.
Hiring and hustle culture
The hustle culture that is promoted by others on the platform with their motivational posts, how to’s, and what to’s are directed to “freshers”- people off college and new into the job market- students, interns, and young 20 year olds who might not have sufficient emotional resources to manage extreme work conditions and stress.
In Spite of how vulnerable they are, the environment within Linkedin glorifies people’s extreme work cultures and hiring requirements. They are often made to feel inadequate and their resumes as “not enough” if they have not done something great or noteworthy.
Too many coaches
While LinkedIn does provide a great platform to connect with various professionals in your field, seek mentorship, and guidance- it is also a platform for thousands of career coaches and productivity influencers.
A lot of what they preach and push are often without fact checking, and consideration for the social context of the people who they are preaching to. It pushes the idea that If you have not done anything notable that has changed the world, you are not considered successful.
This kind of ultimatum can cause a person to compare themselves to others and struggle with the stress and anxiety to do much more even when they realistically are already doing the best that they can do.
Linkedin and its user environment aso has the tendency to be extremely optimistic which oftentimes borders on toxic positivity. There is immense pressure from fellow professionals, linkedin gurs and influencers that push people to “look at the bright side.”
They disregard the fact that their reality- their losses and struggles- are not the same for other people. The messages of “brushing it off” that is often found floating around Linkedin does no good for someone else who is experiencing loss. It disregards that some people take longer to heal. It does not empathize with people and their experience of loss and defeat.
How to cope with Linkedin related stress
Here are some things you can do to cope with stress related to linkedin use. These tips require active effort to create balance so that you are able to control the use of linkedin rather than Linkedin controlling you.
Delete the app
Linkedin can be used on desktop, if you find yourself spending late nights scrolling through linkedin on your phone, delete the app. This will make your reach to the app harder as we often click on apps mindlessly.
Better not to use the site at all unless you need to update your connections, your resume, and for job searches. Use it as a tool for the purposes it was made for- to connect and to employ.
Make use of your privacy controls
There are many settings that allow you to control who can see your profile. If you are insecure about your own resume- and it’s normal if you are-you can limit people from checking your profile out. You can even block spams and toxic influencers that promote hustle culture without much regard for well-being.
Control screen time
If it is absolutely necessary that you be on Linkedin, limit your screen time- give yourself a specific time limit. Some phones have the ability to force stop apps when it crosses the time limit- make use of that.
It has become increasingly difficult for us to disregard social media as a whole, everything has moved online- including recruitments, job opportunities, and learning.
If you think that Linkedin can be a boost to your professional life- which it can- practice mindfulness as you spend time on it.
Be mindful of how you feel when you are on the site, the things that you think about yourself and others. Be mindful of how much time you spend on it and what it is doing to your relationships, your work ethic, and yourself.
Through mindfulness you will be able to separate yourself from the world behind the screen- be it credible or fake- and depersonalize your sense of self with and well-being.
In this guide we have discussed the effects of linkedin on mental health and some of the things you can do to cope with the depression and anxiety induced by linkedin related stress.
Frequently asked questions related to “Linkedin makes me depressed (Tips on how to cope with Linkedin related stress)
Why is LinkedIn bad for mental health?
Linkedin, like any other social media platform, when used without mindful consumption can lead you to compare yourself and your accomplishments with that of your professional peers. Continued comparisons can lead to negative self-appraisals and lowered sense of well- being.
Should I leave LinkedIn?
If you have a secure job, and you find that you spend time on Linkedin to simply compare yourself with others and it’s affecting your mental health- it could be time for you to get yourself off linked in until you need it for job searches.
Why is LinkedIn so important?
LinkedIn is a platform to gain and share knowledge. It gives you a platform to know more information about the industry you work in, connect with other professionals and possible employers which makes it an important part of your career- especially since most recruiters require linkedin profiles.
Is LinkedIn toxic?
LinkedIn when used without mindful attention can become a toxic social media platform like any other- it can cause you to compare with others and the glorification of hustle culture can cause stress, burnout, and mental distress.