Contacting a person on social networks before meeting them “offline” would not help reduce social anxiety but would increase the load of expectations to be supported. Better then the more traditional “face to face” contacts?
Getting to know a person on a social network and conveying some preliminary information about themselves would seem a more “gradual” approach for those who are subject to a particularly high load of social anxiety, but some research suggests that the opposite could also happen: exchange some preliminary information the load of expectations that one feels having to bear in front of the new interlocutor would increase: better then bypassing cyberspace …
If social networks increase social anxiety
It is all made in the USA one of the latest research recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, on social networks and social anxiety. Researchers analyzed what were the emotional reactions of a group of young women between 18 and 20 years old. who met a person face to face for the first time after having previously contacted them on a social network or without having ever contacted them before. Well, contrary to what one might expect, it seems that social networks represent a paradoxical complication for those who are prone to high levels of social anxiety. In the women in the study group, those who were most vulnerable from this point of view were also those who exhibited higher levels of emotional stress in getting to know a stranger after contacting him via the internet rather than from scratch. Preliminary exchanging information with the other would feed a series of anxious expectations that re they would give the first meeting anything but simple.
Talking first in chat reduces the anxiety of the first meeting
Yet previous studies, such as the one published in 2012 in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy, would seem to suggest the opposite and that is that, in the era of online communication, preliminary contact via chat can reduce anxiety and behavior, at least in ordinary situations. avoidance in those who are most prone to experiencing high levels of social anxiety in situations where they have to meet a stranger for the first time. But therefore, social networks can facilitate or inhibit interactions for those who find it difficult to form new bonds socially?
Social networks benefit those who are already a good communicator
A 2012 Dutch study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science reviews research contributions on the effects of computer-mediated communication (CMC) on adolescent communication and relationship skills. This review seems to highlight how much the effects of social networking on social anxiety are neither unique nor taken for granted. If it is true that, in recent decades, the internet has spread so widely that it has become the main means through which children, rather than making new friends, maintain and cultivate those with people who already know, it is also true that those who already have good offline communication skills would benefit from it, on the other hand, if it is true that social networks offer opportunities for meeting and exchanging in some ways simplified compared to face-to-face (avoiding sending non-verbal bodily signals that can “betray” anxiety and embarrassment or by granting n apparently greater control over the image you want to give of yourself), from another point of view the virtual world has its rules of good conduct, but also its pitfalls and safeguarding one’s privacy and reputation may not be easy especially for those who are more vulnerable to unforeseen consequences …