Social media can be stressful. But what if social media is your job?

Thea Neal wrote an article titled, "Should you ask your social media manager if they're okay?" It's since gone viral, having been shared among social media managers whom all weighed in on the issue. Their dreams jobs aren't as glorious as it seems. It's actually taking a toll on their mental health.
For social media managers, their dreams jobs aren't as glorious as it seems. It's actually taking a toll on their mental health. (Unsplash)

Have you asked your company's social media manager if they're okay lately?

It's not a question that often comes to mind when we're taking to social media to complain about a particular company or brand's disservice.

But Thea Neal, a social media manager for a large retail brand, thinks that we should be checking in on our social media managers.

Thea Neal is a social media manager for a large retail brand.

In an article for LinkedIn, "Should you ask your social media manager if they're okay?" Neal detailed the many downs of constantly being online for work.

It's since been reshared and posted on social media, by digital specialists who feel the same way.

"A huge part of constantly being connected to the Internet is that you experience a lot of trolls and a lot of negativity, especially when you are working for a brand or a sports team," Neal told Spark.  

There's some academic study behind why people behave more openly online than offline.

It's called the online disinhibition effect, coined by John Suler, a professor of psychology at Rider University. It means that people have less restraint when they're communicating online than they would in person.  

"It's funny because when I wrote about this, I got a few comments from people being like you just need to have thick skin if you work in social media," Neal added.  

While social media managers may be aware the negative feedback loop isn't always directed at them personally, Neal thinks this awareness isn't enough.

"I have social media friends that have received death threats on the internet, or have been told everyday to kill themselves," Neal said.  

"It's hard not to take it personally when you are hearing it all day," she added.

Neal recalls a disastrous experience when she worked for a toothpaste brand and a fake online user sent a video to her of what looked like live bugs crawling out of the brand's toothpaste.

She spent an entire work day dealing with what she said could have been a brand damaging scandal.


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