Should You Show All Emotions On Social Media?

January 31, 2017 Social Media Strategy

Emotions are a form of communication.

The emotions you experience communicate how you’re feeling in a current setting.

For example, if you’re emotions are angry then you’re probably in a setting that reflects that. Maybe you’re waiting in line at the post office and it’s dragging on. Or maybe you’re at a sporting event and your favorite team is making mental mistakes.

Emotions also communicate how you’re feeling to others. So let’s say you’re in that line at the post office and your face is crinkled and you let out a few sighs. You’re communicating to those around you that you’re angry and frustrated.

And we all know the type of fan that let’s out those loud cheers and jeers in the bleachers at sporting events. You can definitely tell what a person is feeling if they express their emotions at an event like that.

As you probably know, emotions can get out of control. Getting a little too aggressive in the post office line or at the sporting event usually makes others look down on you.

As with many things in life it’s about balance.

Are Emotions Good?

Yes. It’s usually good to express your emotions.

One study found that people live longer when they’re able to express their emotions. Maybe expressing emotions allows you to get things off your mind so you can move on.

But we also know that emotional control is important because you can turn people off if you get out of control and you can rile yourself up into a stressful state.

Sometimes it’s good to hold back. It’s usually good to express your emotions in a way that doesn’t turn others off or make them react negatively.

It’s almost like a dance. It can be challenging in real life and it’s also challenging on social media.

Raise your hand if you know someone that has gotten out of control with their emotions on social media?

Okay, now think if you’ve been that person…

I know I’ve been guilty in the past, but I’ve learned to improve things over the years. Keeping things positive. Keeping things under control. Still using emotion to communicate, but in a positive way.

Here are some tips for communicating the right way with your emotions on social media.

Tip #1. Identify Your Swing Emotion Triggers

Psychologists talk about triggers when it comes to life. There are triggers for swing emotional states. These are when something triggers you to go from one state of mind to an extreme of another.

It could be good. Maybe you’re sitting in your office and life is just chill and the next moment you hear you get a raise. Boom. You’re riding high on pleasure and happiness.

The next moment, though, someone brings up politics or sports and you find yourself getting agitated and angry really quickly.

Most of us have triggers.

When it comes to emotional control on social media you need to know what triggers your emotional swings.

One common culprit is following the wrong type of people. For example, you might be on Twitter and you follow someone that brings high emotion to a certain topic that is opposed to your worldview. You see their tweets in the morning and it gets you riled up. Next thing you know you’re blowing up your own feed with all kinds of rants and raves.

Now you know the trigger. Unfollow that account and remove the trigger.

Another common one is when people comment to rile things up. Say you post something that really isn’t controversial or anything, but someone leaves a comment insulting you.

That’s difficult for anyone, but for some it’s really bothersome to be insulted. The insult is the trigger. Block that person or delete the comment or find a positive comment to bring you back to your normal state.

Tip #2. See The Big Picture

I know that it’s not easy to focus on the big picture on social media. It’s such a fast-paced environment. Tweets are updates are seemingly flying by on the feed.

It’s easy to get caught up in the speed and that can get you in trouble with emotions. You see an update on Facebook, for example, and it gets you worked up. It seems like a good idea at the time to leave a comment.

Chances are that when you post in this manner that you’re thinking in the moment.

Now, living in the moment or in the present is good most of the tie, but it’s important in high emotional situations to look at the big picture.

For example, that comment on Facebook is maybe directed to a family member. You feel like in this moment that you have to put them in their place.

But if you take a second to step back and consider the big picture you probably wouldn’t post that comment.

  • What does it really achieve?
  • Will you change their mind?
  • Will you improve the relationship?
  • Does this argument really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Before you post, focus on the big picture. You’ll probably cut back on highly emotional posts, but you’ll also find that you can post the right kind of emotional content on social media. The kind that brings positive engagement.

Tip #3. Find Accountability

In the end it comes down to building in accountability with your social media program. if you’re the one in charge then you have to be accountable for what may result from showing emotions.

The trick with social media is that it’s easier to let go of your emotions when you’re looking at a screen as opposed to a person. In the case of emotions it’s good to think more like you’re in a real world situation.

  • Would you raise your voice in this situation in person?
  • How would this person react if you said this to their face?
  • What is your goal for this comment?
  • How will it affect you and the business if this turns negative?

Hold yourself accountable when using social media. These are real people and real situations. Just because you’re behind a screen doesn’t mean that real emotions aren’t involved.

Conclusion

One final thing I’ll throw in here from a business perspective, but I guess even from a personal perspective is the idea of knowing your values. Finding your values is about discovery. You look at yourself and look at the couple things that really define who you are. Maybe it’s being on time. Maybe it’s helping others.

It could be anything.

But once you know what your values are then train yourself to remember your values when you’re on social media. Usually when our emotions get out of control we go against our values. Yes, someone may disagree with us on something that we care about, but to “put them in their place” or whatever usually requires us to go against our values.

But when you recognize that it becomes easier to hold back even on social media.