Social media agony aunts

ended 01. March 2022

A journalist at the Mail Online is writing an article about the rise of social media agony aunts and why young women may feel the need to seek advice and connection online more than in previous years? She's also keen to know whether young women generally feel more sensitive, or are more in touch with their emotions, than perhaps previous generations. Any thoughts, send them across. Deadline is midday. No need for an essay. A paragraph or two will do.

4 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"I think stigma about reaching out for support has reduced due to more awareness about a whole host of difficulties. There has never been a more empowered or pro-choice time to be alive. People are now likely to be better informed and to have more options available to them. This, in turn, offers an array of different choices. In the past if there wasn't anyone close by to ask for trusted advice, or people were invalidating your attempts to talk, then this urge may have been shut down or repressed. What has changed, is we are now more aware that the needs we have are valid and important and that it's okay to have them met. It's not our fault if those closest to us can't meet them and we still deserve to have our world be enhanced and transformed by those we deem to have more knowledge, skills and experience than ourselves in any given situation."
Star Quote
"Agony aunts have been a staple for young adults for a very long time. The move to social media just reflects the shift from print media like Cosmopolitan and Just17 to digital platforms. We have a local agony aunt (@pompeyagonyaunt) who is only on Instagram and a rather unique anonymous letterbox in certain cafes and bars around the city (@southseaconfessional) where people can raise concerns, fears, anxieties and ask questions they may otherwise feel judged for. This is so important for sharing information in a society where some subjects are still taboo and poor mental health is a growing issue. Knowing you are not alone and that there is an answer or way out is such comfort when you are stuck on an issue. Long live the agony aunts and hidden angels helping reassure society."
"Young women today use social media much more and trust its judgements. They see real, credible women giving help and support and like the ease with which they can access it. They can be in a comfortable setting and find instant guidance, which simply wasn't the case five or 10 years ago."
Star Quote
"Social media has become ubiquitous over the past 10 years. And as much as it has a negative connotation generally, the reality is there are many benefits to it, too. A key benefit of social media is the exposure a user can now get to all sorts of different issues that are being raised either by groups fighting for a specific cause or random bits of inspiration through videos, quotes and stories. Given social media algorithms, the more you use social media, the more your feed will cater to you and the more you will feel understood and supported. This level of feeling understood is harder to find in the real world, as you will more often be faced with antagonism or simply opposing viewpoints. The latter is key to building tolerance and understanding towards the various different views and ways of living in the world and build resilience to handle difference and challenge. Of course, cognitive dissonance is a powerful force, so as humans we tend to avoid and or be less likely to engage much with things and people who are different to us. So the algorithm-driven push through social media towards things we "like" soothes us temporarily and gives us temporary/perceived comfort but actually undermines our general ability to recognise a broad range of viewpoints and become resilient. This relationship is mediated when you are confident because you will already have developed a strong level of self-awareness and you know and are comfortable with what you bring to the world and don't. So if anything, social media enhances an already high baseline of drive and motivation, whereas for those with low confidence, social media can provide a perceived temporary high for wellbeing, but actually undermines you in the long-term. But social media acts like a drug, and similar to smoking, we continue to engage with it because it provides us temporary relief."